Mdou Moctar immediately stands out as one of the most innovative artists in contemporary Saharan music. His unconventional interpretations of Tuareg guitar have pushed him to the forefront of a crowded scene. Back home, he’s celebrated for his original compositions and verbose poetry, an original creator in a genre defined by cover bands. In the exterior, where Saharan rock has become one of the continents biggest musical exports, he’s earned a name for himself with his guitar moves. Mdou shreds with a relentless and frenetic energy that utterly sets him apart.
2019 brings his first true studio album recorded with a live band - Ilana (The Creator), out March 29th on Sahel Sounds. Recorded in Detroit at the tail end of a US tour by engineer Chris Koltay (the two met after bonding over ZZ Top’s Tres Hombres), the band lived in the studio for a week, playing into the early hours. Mdou was accompanied by an all-star band: Ahmoudou Madassane’s (Les Filles de Illighadad) lighting fast rhythm guitar, Aboubacar Mazawadje’s machine gun drums, and Michael Coltun’s structured low-end bass. Ilana takes the tradition laid out by the founders into hyperdrive, pushing Tuareg guitar into an ever louder and blistering direction. Mdou reaches back into Tuareg folklore for inspiration, riffing on the hypnotic loops of takamba griots, or borrowing vocal patterns from polyphonic nomad songs, and combining them with his signature guitar.
Boogarins’ Fernando “Dino” Almeida and Benke Ferraz began playing music together as teenagers in the central Brazilian city of Goiânia – creating psychedelic pop in their parents’ gardens, filtering their country’s rich musical history through a modern lens. By the time the group’s home-recorded debut LP, ‘As Plantas Que Curam’ (2013), was released worldwide, the band had recruited a proper rhythm section and were developing a name around Goiânia. Soon after, the group was booking regular gigs in São Paulo and across the country. Ultimately, with glowing praise from critics abroad (Chicago Tribune #9 Album of 2013) and a growing international audience, 2014 saw Boogarins circling the globe continually – headlining clubs and playing festivals from Austin to London, Paris to Madrid, New York to San Francisco, Santiago to Mexico City, playing alongside many great artists around the world.
The band’s second album, ‘MANUAL’ (2015) — was nominated for a Latin Grammy (Best Rock Album, Portuguese Language) and was launched in London, inspiring MOJO Magazine to award the group its MOJO Rising distinction. They have been made global festival appearances in Central Park, Lisbon’s Rock in Rio, São Paulo’s Lollapalooza, Vancouver’s LEVITATION, and Coachella.