In the mid-80s, artists of the calibre of Salif Keita meant that I couldn't get enough of music from Mali. With post-punk sounding tired and predictable, African music had the exotic zest and lust for love that I was seeking at the time.
Even though I couldn't understand any of the lyrics, what I heard (or perhaps imagined) sounded both authentic and joyful. It made for a welcome antidote to the western vogue for gloomy melancholia that Mark E.Smith memorably dismissed in C'n'c-S Mithering as "miserable songs synthesized".
More recently, projects such as Damon Albarn's Africa Express have helped show new generations that the world of music and dance extends well beyond mainstream UK and USA based artists. In the case of Amadou & Mariam, the husband and wife duo have reached audiences far beyond their humble origins through tours with the likes of Coldplay and U2.
They have been making music for several decades after first meeting in 1975 at Mali's Bamako Institute for the Young Blind. La Confusion is their ninth studio album. Recorded in France, it showcases a dozen topical songs about the confusing times we live in.
For instance, C'est chaud tells stories of enforced migrancy, Gnagamina is about the daily terrors of ordinary people's lives while Femmes du monde is a plea for gender equality.
Despite the serious subjects, the couple prove not only that confusion doesn't automatically lead to despair but also that you can still dance to the rhythm of truth.
Amadou & Mariam's website