Born in a nomad camp in Niger and now a leading figure of desert rock, Mdou Moctar has enjoyed one of quickest rises to success. In contrast to the polished style of Imarhan or Bombino, Mdou Moctar trades in unrelenting gritty rock and has no qualms about going full shred. But Mdou's success is not confined to guitar theatrics alone. From his experiments in autotune, DIY field recordings, to a starring role in a Saharan remake of Purple Rain, Mdou stands out amongst his peers.
Tuareg guitar has rock music in its genes, owing as much to traditional desert ballads as 70s classic rock. Mdou doubles down on these origins, pushing Tuareg guitar into an ever louder direction. If early innovators looked to Mark Knopfler, Mdou has an affinity with Eddie Van Halen.
Recorded in Detroit at the tail end of a tour, the band jumped right into frenetic non-stop sessions. Accompanied by an all-star band with Ahmoudou Madassane's lighting fast rhythm guitar, Aboubacar Mazawadje machine gun drums, and Micheal Coltun's supportive low-end bass, “Ilana” (English: “The Creator”) captures the spirit of an Agadez wedding, a studio recording with just the right amount of grit.
In exile from his city in Northern Mali, singer/songwriter Ahmed Ag Kaedy returns to the origins of Tuareg folk with sessions of stripped down solo acoustic guitar. Mellow pentatonic notes dance over plaintive vocals, intimate and close mic'd, endearing in their simplicity. Drifting from melancholic ballads and pleas for peace, "Akaline Kidal" is a politically charged and poignant recording for a community ripped apart by division and civil war.
NigeriÃ©n composer Hama presents a groundbreaking album of traditional electronic desert folk songs, hovering somewhere between early 90s techno and synthwave. Nomadic herding ballads, ancient caravan songs, and ceremonial wedding chants are all re-imagined into pieces seemingly lifted from a Saharan 1980s sci-fi soundtrack or score to a Tuareg video game. With a deep love and respect, Hama effortlessly takes back and re-appropriates fourth-world ethnoambient music.
Soundtrack to the Saharan acid ethno-Western Zerzura. Instrumental soundscapes invoke a surreal fever dream of the desert. Reverbed electric guitar, subliminal drones, and ghostly percussion. Free form improvisations from Ahmoudou Madassane (Mdou Moctar, Les Filles de Illighadad) offer an entirely new vision of the familiar Tuareg guitar genre.
Trance inducing music from Northern Mali. Griot Agali Ag Amoumine and his group Tallawit Timbouctou are champions of Takamba, a hypnotic traditional rhythm that dominates communities along the Niger bend. This live session, recorded at his home in Timbouctou, demonstrates the power of the music. Songs blend seamlessly into one another in a non-stop, relentless and unfiltered takamba as it's meant to be heard.
Sweet and sublime school recordings from elementary school group in Northern Niger from the 1980s. All-girl group accompanied by their instructor on the guitar, recalling Guinean folk and early Ali Farka TourÃ©. Folkloric songs, praising culture, tradition, and emphasising importance of education to nomadic world. A very important recording in the history of Nigerien music that would go on to form the base of the modern female music troupes. Originally released on cassette in 1985, re-stored and remastered for the first time outside of Niger. Accompanied with liner notes w/ song translations.
Music for desert picnics. Tuareg guitarist Mdou Moctar delves into his more sensitive side with a minimal studio recording of dreamy ballads. Thumping calabash, droning guitars, and vocal overdubs evoke an imagined desert soundscape. All instruments and vocals performed by Mdou only, creating very personal and auteur sessions. Emotive and introspective, exploring themes of religion, spirituality, and matters of the heart. Songs that are difficult to place, lifted out of half remembered memory for one last time.
New age music from West Africa. Lush and hypnotic dreamscapes combine traditional instrumentation with sweeping electronics, field recordings, and soothing affirmations. Bamako based composer Luka Productions delves into avant-griot, transforming ancient music into the 21st century. The songs are meditative and sage, as voices guide the listener through ways of living, from the village life to the modern world. Inspired from early electronic music, library records, and new age, this is easily one of the most left field recordings to ever come out of Mali. In Bambara.
Rocking soundtrack recording from "Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red in it," a revolutionary story of guitars, motorcycles, cellphones - and the music of a new generation. Original compositions from Mdou Moctar from the film about his rise to fame in the city of Agadez. From the raucous heavy psychedelic to the beautiful pentatonic sublime. Includes original compositions and reverb heavy intermission film score.
Cosmic synth from Niger's Mamman Sani. Polyphonic analog synthesizers and drum machines interpret ancient Saharan folk ballads in an imagined science fiction future. A proposed relaxation guide, sonically lying somewhere between ambient library music and minimal wave. Recorded in Niger and France in the late 1980s and never before released.
Tuareg rock from Niger's singer-songwriter Mdou Moctar. Tales of anguished love and broken hearts, plus some well known classics. Famous for his autotuned studio sessions popular on West African cellphones, here Mdou performs live. Recorded on location in Niger, electrifying, distorted and blown out guitar balances with sweet melodies of Saharan folk.
A compilation of the most popular music circulating the Sahara desert on the unofficial network of cellphones -- where mp3s are stored, played, and traded in very literal peer to peer bluetooth transfers. The contemporary West African sound from the new school of DIY production with little or no commercial release outside of their locales, from spaced out Tuareg Autotune, Ivorian Club Jams, Mauritanian Synth, and Malian Hip Hop electro. Collected from memory cards by and released on cassette, the vinyl comes after a years plus of tracking down the composers.