The world has already learned to appreciate Tuareg music and its unique use of guitars and vocals. Artists like Bombino and Tinariwen, who have both performed at Oslo World Music Festival, have paved the way for a musical genre associated with the Nomad peoples of Saharan Africa. Still, there are new and original artists following closely behind. Mdou Moctar is one of them – and he is not afraid to utilise new techniques and create new music. To top it off, he is also the star of the first Tuareg language fiction film in history!
Like many Saharan musicians, Mdou Moctar started up spreading his music via mobile phones – which can be used as a portable studio as well as a sharing facility. In 2010, a compilation of memory cards around the area resulted in the release of an album called Music From Saharan Cellphones. One of Mdou’s songs was featured on the album, and stood out due to his original mix of Tuareg guitars and homemade electronica. His music is dreamy and psychedelic, with guitar tones reminding of a light desert breeze, kept in rhythm by the electronic drumbeats.
Mdou recorded his first album, Anar, in Nigeria in 2008. After his return to his hometown Abalak in Niger, he released his first international album, Afelane, last year. He is now starring in a feature film, Akounak, playing the part of a young guitarist struggling to succeed despite all obstacles. The film could be taken as a proof that Mdou himself has indeed succeeded.
ID 20 year!
Text: Kristian Krogh-Sørensen