Prodigious Tuareg guitarist and songwriter Mdou Moctar boldly reforges contemporary Saharan music and “rock music“ by melding Eddie Van Halen pyrotechnics, full-blast noise and guitar shredding, field recordings, drums rhythms, poetic meditations on love, religion, women’s rights, inequality and Western Africa’s exploitation at the hands of colonial powers to rip a new hole in the sky with the Afrique Victime album.
Mdou Moctar’s home is Agadez, a desert village in rural Niger. Inspired by YouTube videos of Eddie Van Halen’s six string techniques and traditional Tuareg melodies, he mastered the guitar which he himself built and created his own burning style. A born charismatic, Mdou went on to tell his story as an aspiring artist by writing, producing & 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. Gruelling DIY world tours and albums on the independent US label Sahel Sounds followed, including 2019’s landmark Ilana: The Creator album that earned Mdou Moctar an ecstatic international audience.
Afrique Victime is result of the combined efforts of Mdou and the members of the band that shares his name. Mdou’s 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.
The band‘s youngest member is prodigal drummer Souleymane Ibrahim, also a member of both the well-known Niger band Sultanat Star De L’air and the longest running wedding band in Agadez, Etran De L’air. Souleymane’s playing on this album ferociously sets a new standard for the “rock” drumset.
Producer & bassist Mikey Coltun flies 20 hours from Brooklyn, NYC, then takes a 28 hour bus ride to reach Agadez so the band can practice and record. With no support from a major label or a manager, they made this journey out of Niger every time they toured. In the past three years, Mikey’s played over 500 shows on three continents as Mdou Moctar’s bassist, road manager, producer/recording engineer, and friend. Coltun recorded and produced Afrique Victime around the band’s travels in 2019- in studios, apartments, hotel rooms, venue backstages, and in field recordings in Niger.
Recording and honing songs as a touring outfit forged a livewire new sound, and If Ilana was a late ’60s early ’70s ZZ Top and Black Sabbath record – Afrique Victime is mid ’70s to early ’80s Van Halen meets Black Flag meets Black Uhuru. The ferocity of Moctar’s electric guitar and the band’s hypnotic rhythm section are on awe-inspiring display on songs like “Chismiten” and the mournful yet incandescent title track.
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