Mali's Amadou & Mariam sing in three African languages and French but more importantly are fluent in a musical language that often transcends ordinary speech. Polyrhythmic percussion, complex vocal harmonies, and fluid guitar, violin, and horn lines -- as well as the occasional harmonica -- are combined to create earthy songs that are more given the breath of life than performed. Each of the album's 15 songs beats with its own human, living pulse. "A Radio Mogo" hints at Caribbean reggae, while "Mon Amour, Ma Cherie" allows Amadou to stretch out a bit on guitar, over a rolling, throbbing beat. While not as blues-oriented as the more internationally known Malian guitarists, Ali Farka Toure and Boubacar Traore, Amadou plays guitar in an accomplished, heartfelt style that's accessible in any language. In Sou Ni Tile, Amadou & Mariam and their band have created mature, intelligent pop music that's accessible exactly because the musicians have chosen not to trade exuberance or passion for their maturity and intelligence.
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AllMusic Review by Brian Beatty