Mdou Moctar’s, Afrique Victime (May 2021)

2021.07.12 M – 4.0

I listened to this on a drive from NYC to DC and it grabbed me on the first song and never let go. Propulsive is a cheat music descriptor for me but if it applies to anything it is this album. Alternates from chill walks to explosive runs. My initial thought was that it is a perfect mix of King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard and Toumani Diabaté.


9 songs, 42 minutes

Mdou Moctar – “Tala Tannam” (Official Music Video)

From Wikipedia: “Tuareg songwriter and musician based in Agadez, Niger, and is one of the first musicians to perform modern electronic adaptations of Tuareg guitar music. He first became popular through a trading network of cellphones and memory cards in West Africa.” And:

“I first met (Christopher Kirkley of Sahel Sounds) on the mobile phone as he had called me … It was a weird conversation, as I thought my cousin was pulling a joke on me so I hung up. This American guy calling me, saying he wanted to work with me for my music, it just couldn’t be real. He called me again and we talked. He came to visit me in my village and also sent me a lefthanded guitar, which is very hard to find in Niger. This guitar has crossed several African countries to arrive in my hands, I have been playing it ever since!

Cool interview video

an adrenalizing take on assouf, or desert blues, that seems engineered to reach as many people as possible…

As Moctar’s recordings have evolved, the constant has been his distinctive playing. Left-handed and self-taught, Moctar developed a style of brushing the strings with his left index finger in furtive, constant motions while his right hand gallops along the fretboard, building melodies from nimble hammer-ons, often filtered through a series of pedals that creates the sound of a metallic, echoing siren.