– THE PEACEFUL PROTEST –
When Mdou Moctar acted in a Tuareg-language version of the Prince semi-biopic, Purple Rain the literal translation of the film’s title – Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai – was “Rain The Colour Of Blue With A Little Red In It”. There is no Tuareg word for Purple.
It seems fitting that something associated with Moctar would defy the constraints of language. The Niger-based semi-nomadic guitar player only learnt his instrument having built his own with wood and cables from bicycle brakes. Left-handed, it “only had five strings because it wasn’t wide enough for six.” And ever since, he’s been pushing the boundaries of Tuareg guitar music, most notably, being one of the first to perform modern electronic adaptations of old standards.
His heady mix of ‘desert blues’ and raw rock’n’roll energy have seen Moctar compared to, amongst others Jimi Hendrix (the left-hander thing probably helps here) and Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page. Watch any live performance (this is a good place to start) and it’s hard not to be drawn in by the vibrant, psychedelic, other-worldly frenzy.
And yet, Moctar is still finding ways to surprise us. Tumastin is the first single from his debut full-length Ilana: The Creator and it reveals a more reflective side to the artist. The vocals are hazed into the background, the beat is relaxed where, previously, it’s so often been reckless. If you were being twee about it, you might even call it rock, the colour of blues with a little Tuareg in it.
Ilana: The Creator is released today.
More From This Week’s Mix:
You can find all of the tracks reviewed above in the 45 Revolutions per Minute playlist below or click to access the 45 RPM Playlist on Spotify itself.
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– SV –