If you’re not familiar with the genre often referred to as “desert rock,” you’re in for a treat Thursday night at the Columbus Theatre. Mdou Moctar, a native of the North African nation of Niger, is opening his nationwide tour in Providence. Tickets are available here.
Moctar’s guitar style is hypnotic, and the band’s shows are legendary. His 2021 album Afrique Victime, was one of the year’s best, showing up on several end-of-the-year lists.
More about Mdou Moctar
Mdou Moctar’s Afrique Victime was one of 2021’s most lauded releases: an innovative alchemy of Tuareg folk, blues and rock, electric guitar pyrotechnics, field recordings and electronics with poetic call-to-arms lyrics about the plight of his homeland of Niger. It won widespread praise, receiving a “Best New Music” nod from Pitchfork and sweeping the “Best of 2021” lists, attaining high placements from The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Guardian, NPR, Rolling Stone, Variety, Esquire and many others.
With Afrique Victime, the oft-hailed “Jimi Hendrix of the Sahara” ripped 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. It is the result of the combined efforts of Mdou, Ahmoudou Madassane, Souleymane Ibrahim and Mikey Coltun.
Afrique Victime is Mdou’s most impressive work to date and an incredible leap forward. 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 “Afrique Victime,” while softer acoustic ballads like “Habibti” and “Layla” highlight the more mournful yet incandescent facets of the band.
You can catch a glimpse below of the band’s famously electric live set via this lived streamed concert Mdou Moctar – Live in Niamey, Niger that they released earlier this year.