In the somewhat crowded scene of Tuareg guitarists, Mdou stands apart from his peers. One of the few original singer/songwriters willing to experiment and push the boundaries of the genre, his unconventional styles have won him accolades both in Niger and abroad.
Mdou Moctar hails from Abalak, in the Azawagh desert of Niger. He taught himself the guitar at a young age on a homemade instrument. Inspired by returning Ishumar, Mdou traveled the road to Libya where he traveled and worked odd jobs. As chance had, he would meet some of the now famous guitarists and further his musical studies. He returned home with a guitar and a dream.
Rising to the status as local celebrity, in 2008 he traveled to Nigeria to record his first album “Anar” – a psychedelic electronic album of Tuareg guitar, became an instant success throughout the mp3 networks of West Africa. “Tahoultine,” one of the standout tracks, was later featured on the compilation “Music from Saharan Cellphones.”
In 2013, he released his first international album, “Afelan,” rocking and raw sessions recorded live at his hometown in Niger. This was followed by the 2014 vinyl release of “Anar.” In 2015, he starred in the first ever Tuareg language film, a fictional story of the struggle of a guitarist trying to make it against all odds in Agadez. The film continues to be screened at festivals around the world.
Mdou will be present Opening Night of the Cascade Festival of African Films, Friday, February 3, 2017 for the 6:30 and 9:15 pm screenings of the film Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai, and will perform in an 11:15 pm concert, Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd.
Sahel Sounds is the project of Christopher Kirkley, gentleman explorer/music archivist/artist/curator/and occasional dj. His work examines contemporary popular musics in an evolving technological landscape from the interplay of localized traditions with transglobal influences to new media models of cultural transmission.
Sahel Sounds began as a blog in 2009 to share field recordings and has evolved into a record label. The blog continues as a documentation of recordings, as well as a platform to explore arts and music of the region through nontraditional ethnographic fieldwork.