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Mdou Moctar


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    Kamane Tarhanin
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Mdou Moctar stands out the most innovative artist in contemporary Saharan music. His unconventional interpretations of Tuareg guitar and have pushed him to the forefront of a crowded scene.
Back home, he’s celebrated for his original poetry. In the exterior, where Saharan rock has become the continents biggest musical exports, he’s earned a name for himself, trading in unrelenting grit with no qualms about going full shred.
Mdou Moctar hails from a small village in central Niger, where he taught himself to play on a homemade guitar cobbled together out of wood. In 2008, Mdou traveled to Nigeria to record a few tracks, which became viral hits on the mp3 networks of West Africa, later released on the compilation “Music from Saharan Cellphones.” In 2013, he released “Afelan,” recorded in his village. Then he shifted gears, producing and starring the first Tuareg language film, a remake of Prince’s Purple Rain (“Akounak”). In 2017, he created a solo folk album, “Sousoume Tamachek."
As Mdou travels the world, he divides his time between two places, alternating from lavish weddings in Agadez to sold out concerts in Berlin nightclubs. At home, his compositions send a message to his people. Abroad, his music is an opportunity to be heard and represent his people on a world stage. His music has been featured in the BBC, The Guardian, Pitchfork, New Yorker, New York Times, NPR, Rolling Stone, and Les Inrocks. His film continues to be screened at film festivals around the world.


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