When HIV / AIDS nonprofit Red Hot approached duo SOFI TUKKER to contribute a song for the Red Hot + free album (to be released July 2), the two musicians – Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern – have decided that their dream collaboration will be with the legendary Amadou & Mariam. Amadou Bagayoko and Mariam Doumbia met at the Malian Institute for Young Blind and have been making music together since the 1980s. Their revolutionary style combines instruments and influences from around the world to create an undeniably vibrant sound. This dynamism proves a perfect match for SOFI TUKKER’s music, which is a mix of everything from bossa nova to ’90s house.
Together, the quartet recorded remotely “honey“- released today – for the album (which will also feature Billy Porter, Ultra Naté, Casey Spooner, Sam Sparro and others) which intends to bring optimism and escape to listeners. Beyond the album, hot red continues to work with the grassroots to eliminate the stigma associated with HIV / AIDS while advocating for marginalized people affected by the disease, fighting for better access to healthcare, education and community support. Proceeds from the sale of all songs on Red Hot + free will go to The coalition of allies, Project Trevor and SAGE—Organizations dedicated to the LGBTQ community.
Hawley-Weld and Halpern are both fans of Amadou & Mariam; Hawley-Weld grew up listening to them and the two say they bonded through their love for the Bamako, Mali-based duo. For Bagayoko and Doumbia, the collaboration was an opportunity to explore and expand. “We have had the opportunity to collaborate with many artists throughout our career, Damon Albarn, Flea, Manu Chao, David Gilmour, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Scissor Sisters,” they say. “For us, it’s a way to grow, explore new sounds and learn. To share and enjoy music. “
Although the song was recorded remotely, everyone involved says the process was actually more natural than expected. “It was actually extremely organic to create this song from a distance. The process was straightforward, as are most of the best songs. It just sank, ”Hawley-Weld and Halpern tell us. “We sent the guitar, they sent their vocals and then we wrote a new vocal melody (with Brazilian poet Jackal) to match the tone and lyrical content of theirs. They replayed the guitar part to give it their signature guitar sound and we added some electronic elements to really bring it into our world. It feels like the perfect combination of our two worlds and the process couldn’t have been more fun. Except maybe if we could have met and performed in person!
Bagayoko and Doumbia echo this sentiment. “The truth is, it was pretty straightforward,” they explain. “SOFI TUKKER gave us a lot of freedom in the composition. The important thing was to connect with our essence and the message that we wanted to give with this song … With ‘Mon Cheri’ everything went very well, we immediately felt where the song had to go and we brought our his.
The floating, energetic “honey»Manifested as the perfect pastiche of their respective sounds. Bagayoko and Doumbia agree that “the song is festive and universal and we hope people really like it.” For Hawley-Weld and Halpern, the song “feels like love and energy.”
When it comes to the song’s release to the world, all four of them just want it to give listeners a moment of joy. Bagayoko and Doumbia say: “After more than a very difficult year for everyone, after many injustices and bad news, we want people to be able to enjoy some music again, get away for a few minutes and relax. let themselves be carried away by a festive sound that makes them dance. We want them to appreciate and love without limits and with respect.
Hero image courtesy of Red Hot