Mdou Moctar Announces Debut Album 'Afrique Victime'

Mdou Moctar

Photo: WH Moustapha

Mdou Moctar Announces Debut Album 'Afrique Victime'

The album is a collaboration between Mdou, his band members and his rhythm guitarist Ahmoudou Madassane.

Matador Records has announced that the eagerly anticipated album Afrique Victime by Mdou Moctar will be released on May 21.

Afrique Victime is an unprecedented collaboration between Mdou, his band members, and Ahmoudou Madassane, who's been his rhythm guitarist since 2008. The album will present an effortless fusion of Saharan and rock music; melding guitar pyrotechnics, full-blast noise, and field recordings with poetic meditations.

You might have come across Mdou on Off White's "Imaginary TV" channel, who designer Virgil Abloh called, "one of my favorite musicians Rn."

Mdou's desert village Agadez, in rural Niger, is his source of inspiration. He attributes his artistic style to traditional Tuareg melodies and YouTube videos of Eddie Van Halen's six string techniques. Mdou has also worked on film projects. He wrote, produced, and starred in the first Tuareg language film: a remake of Purple Rain called Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai– which translates to "Rain The Color Of Blue With A Little Red In It." This earned him approval from his community and popularity across West Africa. This soon led to world tours and albums on the independent US label Sahel Sounds, including 2019's landmark Ilana: The Creator, which earned Mdou an international audience.

Mdou Moctar - "Tala Tannam" (Official Music Video)

His band members are equally revered in their community. As a songwriter, producer, and recording artist Ahmoudou is a role model to young Tuaregs in Niger. He assisted in the formation of the first female-led Tuareg guitar band Les Filles De Illighadad, whose debut album and tours in 2019 caused an international sensation. Souleymane Ibrahim, Mdou Moctar 's youngest member, is a drummer who is also a member of the well-known Niger band Sultanat Star De L'air and the longest running wedding band in Agadez, Etran De L'air. Souleymane's drum beats on this album set a new standard for the "rock" drum set. Producer and bassist Mikey Coltun flies 20 hours from Brooklyn, NYC, takes a 28-hour bus ride to reach Agadez so the band can practice and record. Mikey has played over 500 shows on three continents as Mdou Moctar's bassist, road manager, and producer.

Afrique Victime is also infused with political themes. "I want the world to know that we are making music to promote world peace and be with everyone on the same level, fighting against racism," says Mdou. "All colors and genders are equal. Women, men, and children all suffer in the desert due to the colonization by France and therefore there is a lack of the basics - hospitals, drinking water, schools."

Offstage, Mdou is a support system to his village's young artists. "I know what it's like to have been in that position," he says, "to not have the support of your family or the money for guitars or strings, it's really hard. I have a lot of support from the younger generation because I help them out a lot. When I get back from the tour, I give them gear that I bought while I was away so they can go out and form their own bands."

You can now watch a video for their new song Tala Tannam, which Mdou says means "your tears" and "is another love song he is very fond of." While Mdou and his band are renowned for their volume and energy, their album intro Chismiten is largely unplugged – tracking simple and mellow notes.

Experimental, provocative, and powerful, Afrique Victime will entice listeners to go on a sonic journey to Niger and we will be all the better for it.

Afrique Victime is now available for pre-order on LP, CD, and also on a limited-edition cell phone that arrives pre-loaded with the record.

Mdou Moctar - "Chismiten" (Official Music Video)