A concert on the beach: Amadou and Mariam

Alex arriving at beach concert by LeAnn for linenandlavender.net - http://www.linenandlavender.net/2012/08/a-concert-on-beach-amadou-and-mariam.html

Every summer, Santa Monica Pier hosts the Twilight Concert Series, where performers from all around the world come to play while the public enjoys the sounds either stage-front on the pier, or by setting up blankets and chairs on the beach below.


Mom and I pack big blankets, and a picnic complete with wine. It's always an enjoyable experience and a great way to relax with friends while people-watching at one of California's iconic settings.  We've brought several out-of-town guests here, and no matter the person, they always seem to enjoy the unique laid-back concert atmosphere. (I'm sure the fact that we keep refilling their wine glass doesn't hurt either!)

One time, they had my all-time favorite Italian artist Jovanotti and neither I, nor the groups of Italian tourists who were in town could believe our good luck at happening upon a free (yes, I forgot to mention it's also free) Jovanotti concert. (He's a big deal in Italy!)



Amadou and Mariam image via Wrasse Records as seen on linenandlavender.net - http://www.linenandlavender.net/2012/08/a-concert-on-beach-amadou-and-mariam.html
Amadou and Mariam met at Mali's Institute for the Young Blind.  
They married in 1980 and began performing together shortly thereafter

This year my good fortune continued because this past Thursday, the Santa Monica stage-on-the-pier was graced by Amadou and Mariam. I've always been drawn to African music in general, but I am especially charmed by Amadou and Mariam's unique ability to blend traditional African and world instruments with the electric guitar. I also especially love the joyful sense that their songs convey and their soulful harmonies that so obviously say "
We love each other so much!" even when singing in Bambara, a language from their native Mali that I don't understand.
 
Strand walk to beach concert, Santa Monica pier by LeAnn = http://www.linenandlavender.net/2012/08/a-concert-on-beach-amadou-and-mariam.html for linenandlavender.net

  
Picnic prep at our house by LeAnn for linenandlavender.net - http://www.linenandlavender.net/2012/08/a-concert-on-beach-amadou-and-mariam.html


This time, it was just Mom and I, but that didn't stop us from packing all of our usuals: fresh heirloom tomatoes with burrata and basil...
Picnic prep: grapes and peaches by LeAnn for linenandlavender.net - http://www.linenandlavender.net/2012/08/a-concert-on-beach-amadou-and-mariam.html
Utensils and plates wrapped in Rough Linen napkins & twine by LeAnn for linenandlavender.net - http://www.linenandlavender.net/2012/08/a-concert-on-beach-amadou-and-mariam.htmlAlex slicing peaches by LeAnn for linenandlavender.net - http://www.linenandlavender.net/2012/08/a-concert-on-beach-amadou-and-mariam.html
Heirloom tomatoes, burrata cheese and basil by LeAnn for linenandlavender.net - http://www.linenandlavender.net/2012/08/a-concert-on-beach-amadou-and-mariam.html

Herb de Provence Olives...


Herb de Provence olives by LeAnn for linenandlavender.net - http://www.linenandlavender.net/2012/08/a-concert-on-beach-amadou-and-mariam.html

...garlic and black pepper rotisserie chicken, french baguette with a drizzle of our favorite olive oil "Frantoia"...


olive oil over baguette by LeAnn for linenandlavender.net - http://www.linenandlavender.net/2012/08/a-concert-on-beach-amadou-and-mariam.html

...goat cheese, fig spread, toasted walnuts and almonds.

  goat cheese, toasted walnuts and fig jam by LeAnn for linenandlavender.net - http://www.linenandlavender.net/2012/08/a-concert-on-beach-amadou-and-mariam.html


Alex walking on strand to beach concert by  by LeAnn for linenandlavender.net - http://www.linenandlavender.net/2012/08/a-concert-on-beach-amadou-and-mariam.html

Even though its a little heavier to carry, we always pack real glasses, plates, and utensils. It makes a big difference (as a nearby picnicker drinking wine out of a plastic cup confirmed to us) and it's nice to use the cloth napkins to protect them and then unwrap them like little gifts.


Some time ago, mom had the great idea to take one of the boards from a board game along to act as a level surface for glasses and bottles.  It's perfect because it's lightweight and folds up to a compact size. We use it so often, we keep it packed in the beach blanket bag so it's always ready to go. (Apparently, we picnic more often than we play Trivial Pursuit!)

Crowd at beach concert by  by LeAnn for linenandlavender.net - http://www.linenandlavender.net/2012/08/a-concert-on-beach-amadou-and-mariam.html

As the sun went down, we lit candles and continued to sip our wine as we snacked on red grapes and oh-so-sweet summer peaches.

water in mason jar, wine on tick stripe by  by LeAnn for  linenandlavender.net - http://www.linenandlavender.net/2012/08/a-concert-on-beach-amadou-and-mariam.htmlPicnic tea lights, peaches and grapes by  by LeAnn for linenandlavender.net - http://www.linenandlavender.net/2012/08/a-concert-on-beach-amadou-and-mariam.html

Many of their songs have a positive, upbeat feeling, and several groups of people got up and danced.  I've always liked the African drum sound, but I had a new appreciation for their drummer in particular after seeing him play live.  He sustained long drum solos that had everyone cheering and clapping.


Amadou and Mariam on-stage by Alex for linenandlavender.net - http://www.linenandlavender.net/2012/08/a-concert-on-beach-amadou-and-mariam.html
One of my favorite songs, which unfortunately wasn't played on this occasion, is M'bifé, which means "I love you."  [Listen in player below] The song, from their album Dimanche à Bamako (Sunday in Bamako), is written in a combination of French and Bambara, but even if you speak neither, her voice and the gentle rhythm definitely convey a sense of love and affection. For those of you who are linguaphiles like me, you may be interested in the lyrics, so I'm including them and a rough idea of their meaning in English.  [If anyone speaks Bambara, I'd love help completing the translation, especially the areas marked with a "...." below!]

M'bifé by Amadou & Mariam on Grooveshark
M'bifé


French/Bambara
Mariam et Amadou, bonjour
Ca va bien?
Comment allez-vous?
Comment allez-vous?

Chéri né bifé

Ka na ta ka né to

Chéri né bifé

Ka na ta ka né to


Tjéni né bifé

Tjéni na té fé

Ka na né maloya


Tjéni né bifé

Serre-moi dans ta main

Tjéni né bifé

Embrasse-moi chéri

Tjéni né bifé


Tjéni né bifé

Ka na ta ka né to

Tjéni né bifé


Jarabi M'bifé

Serre-moi dans ta main

Ka na ta ka né to
Embrasse-moi chéri
Cheri je t’aime
Cherie né bifé 
English
Mariam and Amadou, good day
Is it going well?
How are you?
How are you?

Dear, I love you
...
Dear, I love you
Truly, I love you
Truly, …
Do not betray me
Truly, I love you
Hold me tight in your hand
Truly, I love you
Kiss me, dear
Truly, I love you
Truly, I love you
Truly, I love you
Passionately(?) I love you
Hold me tight in your hand
….
Kiss me dear.
Dear, I love you
Dear, I love you


ferris wheel, view from sand, beach concert - by  LeAnn for linenandlavender.net - http://www.linenandlavender.net/2012/08/a-concert-on-beach-amadou-and-mariam.html

From Los Angeles, Amadou, Mariam and band go to Wiesen, Austria on August 25, and from there, several other destinations in Europe.  Check out the Amadou and Mariam official website to see a full upcoming concert list, look at photos and watch videos. If you can't make it to one of their concerts, I also highly recommend their recorded music, in particular the album Dimanche à Bamako (La Realité, M'bifé and M'bife balafon are three of my favorite tracks) and Je Pense a Toi and Mon Amour, Ma Chérie from the album Sou Ni Tilé.  I've yet to really listen to their newest album, Folila, but it has gotten great reviews from critics and features a lot of international guest artists.



big screen view from sand, summer beach concert by lb for l&l - http://www.linenandlavender.net/2012/08/a-concert-on-beach-amadou-and-mariam.html

If you're in the Los Angeles area, the Twilight Concert Series runs every Thursday during the summer, with the last concert this year on September 6. 



Santa Monica Pier, beach concert venue by lb for linenandlavender.net - http://www.linenandlavender.net/2012/08/a-concert-on-beach-amadou-and-mariam.html

For more information, including upcoming artists in the line-up, see the Twilight Concert Series official site.

                                        by Alex for (l&l)

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