I think it was 2005 when I first saw Amadou & Mariam play live. At the local summer festival in Brussels, the tent was pretty much empty when they walked on stage. An hour later, toward the end of their set, it was packed with people having to squeeze hard to find themselves a decent spot. At the time, a friend who was familiar with their early work (I wasn’t) said he didn’t like what Manu Chao, the producer of their international break-through album Dimanche à Bamako, had done with their sound. I, on the other hand, remember it playing all year long afterwards. Remind me to ask him again what he makes of their new album, Folila, which comes out in March and has contributions by Bertrand Cantat on “Oh Amadou”, Nick Zinner and Santigold on “Dougou Badia” (both songs are on the EP that was released today), Theophilus London, TV On The Radio, Idrissa Soumaoro and Bassekou Kouyate.