After two weekends on the road, I’m back to some domestic tranquility with the art educator, two rambunctious dogs, and my record collection. First up: Amadou & Mariam’s Welcome to Mali. I slept on this duo for awhile: the way they got introduced to world music audiences seemed too cute by half: boy meets girl at the school for the blind, and the rest is history.

My bad. Their music is as gorgeous and driving as the best that has come out of Bamako. The opening track of the album, produced by Blur’s Damon Albarn, is a kind of amuse bouche, foregrounding Mariam’s voice against a “spookily disembodied … musical landscape” that somehow obviates the tired “fusion” label. This isn’t your father’s Graceland, but two fine musicians working confidently with a range of collaborators, from Albarn to Somalia’s K’Naan.

Also caught Extra Golden a week or two ago live in New York. You heard it here first: benga is the new black.

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