Artist Profiles: Mdou Moctar

Mdou Moctar

Tuareg musician Mdou Moctar was born in 1986 in Niger. Mdou Moctar comes from a small village in central Niger in a remote region.

Growing up in an area where secular music was nearly banned, he taught himself to play on a homemade guitar made out of wood parts. Many years later he found a real guitar and taught himself to play in secret. He immediately became a star among the village youth. In a surprising change, his songs began to win over local religious leaders with their lyrics of respect, honor, and tradition.

In 2008 he traveled to Nigeria to record his first album “Anar.” A psychedelic remake of the Tuareg sound, the electronic tracks featured innovative pitch bending synthesizers, drum machines, and autotune.

In 2010, he collaborated with the label and collective Sahel Sounds, releasing his first international album, “Afelan.”

In 2015, he co-wrote and starred in the first ever Tuareg-language film, “Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red In It,” a Saharan remake of Prince’s “Purple Rain.”

In 2017, he changed his sound once more with “Sousoume Tamachek,” a recording evoking the calm desert soundscape, tackling religion, spirituality, and love.

His album Ilana is an ambitious recording pushing Tuareg guitar into an ever louder, rock-oriented direction.

Discography:

Anar (2008)
Afelan (Sahel Sounds, 2013)
Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai, soundtrack (Sahel Sounds, 2015)
Sousoume Tamachek (Sahel Sounds, 2017)
Ilana – The Creator (Sahel Sounds, 2019)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.
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