Nigerien guitar wiz Mdou Moctar today announced a new album, out May 21 on Matador Records, with a new video and single “Tala Tannam.” As you can hear, it’s in a gear we haven’t really heard often from the man and his band.
I had always sort of
assumed that Mdou Moctar's charm was found in his roughness. On
albums he recorded himself, often in long, single takes, the acoustic
songs were starker and the searing electric guitar tunes rougher
compared to fellow Tuareg guitar-hero champ Bombino or Tinariwen. But
“Tala Tannam” lifts the curtains on what makes those songs work
so well—a fine-tuned ear for melody on guitar and vocals, and the
disciplined patience for the song to slowly but methodically unwind
at its own pace.
The video takes you
to the Niger that Moctar’s music has long been evoking, but in the
bright, coordinated movement of a typical day. Nigeriens move through the beats of
their lives over a pulsing rhythm, as insistent as a left ventricle.
The album, Afrique Victime, can be preordered now; the vinyl comes in black and in the colors of the Nigerien flag. Expect those to go quickly.