Blog November 11, 2021
Watch Mdou Moctar “Live At the Niger River”

I’m sure Mdou Moctar would sound great in Madison Square Garden—he’s been playing bigger and bigger venues--and while he has claimed he doesn’t really know much about rock 'n' roll, he and his band understand the same thing that rock’s biggest and best do: loud guitars rule, no need to overthink it. But as a proud Tuareg Nigerien artist, there’s something fitting and evocative about him sitting by the Niger River at dawn, playing an intimate set, sitting cross legged near a fire. Or maybe it’s just beautiful songs played in beautiful scenery, no need to overthink it.

At any rate, this morning Mdou Moctar released a video of a 20-minute, four-song set, played at dawn on the banks of the Niger and it’s so great that the entire concept of the Tiny Desk concert—music but in the stultifying environment of an office!—now seems suspect. The songs, from the group’s latest album Afrique Victime, are reworked for the setting, and the goats that roll up seem to enjoy it well enough, for a moment anyway.

Until you get a chance to see them in an arena, enjoy Mdou Moctar:

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