2009-05-11Amadou & Mariam's Welcome to Mali is a really cool mixture of traditional African music and contemporary music trends. The album was produced by Damon Albarn, of The Gorillaz and Blur, and he also plays many of the instruments. As one would expect, that adds a lot of depth to the record, turning otherwise basic worldbeat songs into a hybrid of modern western pop mixed with African music. When many of the songs start it sounds like anything on top 40 radio, until Mariam Doumbia's distinct voice breaks in her native language. There's nothing ordinary about these tunes, like opener "Sabali" and "Djuru, which mixes hand drumming with drum machine tracks for a nice effect.