2021 SONG DRAFT- ROUND 9 PICK 7- APHORISTICAL SELECTS- ‘TARHATZED’- MDOU MOCTAR

Mdou Moctar - Wikipedia

9. Mdou Moctar – Tarhatzed

Niger guitar hero Mdou Moctar grew up in Arlit, a uranium mining town near the Algerian border. He made his first guitar out of bicycle brake cables, old wood, and the key from a sardine can – his family disapproved of electric music. His music became popular in sub-Saharan Africa through cellphone music trading networks, and he came to western attention when two of his songs appeared on the compilation Music from Saharan Cellphones: Volume 1. Moctar blends traditional desert music with western guitar heroes – like Jimi Hendrix, he plays a Stratocaster left-handed, while he starred in a low-budget Niger remake of Purple Rain.

‘Tarhatazed’ appeared on Moctar’s first record with a full band, 2019’s Ilana The Creator. He sings in Tamasheq, a Malian variant of Tuareg. but on ‘Tarhatzed’ his guitar is the primary communicator. It’s free-wheeling and psychedelic, dancing around the bluesy riff.

Mdou Moctar has plenty to say politically as well – in this year’s pointedly named Afrique Victime, he sings  “Africa is a victim of so many crimes / If we stay silent it will be the end of us / My brothers and sisters, tell me why this is happening?“ But his guitar is even more fluent.

14 responses to “2021 SONG DRAFT- ROUND 9 PICK 7- APHORISTICAL SELECTS- ‘TARHATZED’- MDOU MOCTAR

  1. I love this! Wow, what a gifted and electrifying guitarist Moctar is, especially given his humble beginnings. It’s thrilling when artists blend completely different styles and cultural elements into their music. Great find Graham.

  2. Needless to say I love the guitar. I’ve heard a few things by him…this is really cool. I’ll take guitar driven music any day.

  3. I enjoyed this. His guitar really speaks. I’d love to see a picture of that first guitar he built. It’s great to have another instrumental in the draft, and a more recent one that I haven’t heard before.

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