On May 21, Matador Records will release Afrique Victime, the new album by Mdou Moctar.
With Afrique Victime the prodigious Tuareg guitarist and songwriter rips a new hole in the sky – boldly reforging contemporary Saharan music and “rock music” by melding guitar pyrotechnics, full-blast noise, and field recordings with poetic meditations on love, religion, women’s rights, inequality, and Western Africa’s exploitation at the hands of colonial powers.
Today, watch a video for the new song “Tala Tannam.” “Tala Tannam means your tears,” says Mdou. “It is another love song of which I’m very fond.” The clip was filmed in Niamey, Niger last year when bassist Mikey Coltun made the long journey to meet his bandmates and begin prep for the album’s release. “While the song talks about love, we wanted to show the love between friendships and the love of Niger,” says Coltun. “The video includes friends and family –in the Tuareg community in villages around Niamey as well as Hausa people from villages in the Dosso region.”
Mdou’s home is Agadez, a desert village in rural Niger. Inspired by traditional Tuareg melodies and YouTube videos of Eddie Van Halen’s six string techniques, he mastered the guitar and created his own burning style. A born charismatic, Mdou went on to tell his story as an aspiring artist by writing, producing, and starring in the first Tuareg language film: a remake of Purple Rain called Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai – which translates to “Rain The Color Of Blue With A Little Red In It” – winning the approval of his family and his community. The word and the sound travelled across West Africa via mobile phone data cards, a popular form of local music distribution. Grueling DIY world tours and albums on the independent US label Sahel Sounds followed, including 2019’s landmark Ilana: The Creator, which earned Mdou an ecstatic international audience.
Afrique Victime is result of the combined efforts of Mdou and the members of the band that shares his name. His crucial collaborator is Ahmoudou Madassane, who’s been his rhythm guitarist since 2008. Their two guitars are an alchemical combination. As a songwriter, producer, and recording artist Ahmoudou is the premier musical ambassador to Tuaregs in Niger – empowering young musicians with instruments, recording opportunities, and visas. Masassane helped form the revolutionary first woman-fronted Tuareg guitar band Les Filles De Illighadad, whose debut album and tours caused an international sensation in 2019.