Audio

Stream Mdou Moctar's Tuareg Autotune Via Sahel Sounds

Niger guitarist Mdou Moctar's Tuareg autotune record 'Anar' gets its first official release via Sahel Sounds.


First heard in the cellphones of Saharan residents, Niger guitarist and singer Mdou Moctar's Anar is now seeing its first official release via Sahel Sounds. One of the earliest instances of Tuareg guitar combining with autotune, Anar (2008) thrives on innovation. After all, it would have been pleasant enough if this record were just Moctar singing in his soft and sweet voice along with his guitar. Instead, we have Moctar altering his voice for good reason– he wants to transport us, to take us out of the everyday and into a world where bobbing heads and tapping feet is the norm. On "La Super," for example, Moctar's spindly guitar and Afrobeat-esque horns tag along with his wisely sunken voice. Inspired by Bollywood-influenced Hausa pop music, the album is a jubilant affair that spins Moctar's dessert tray of a voice, like on "Nikali Talit" and "Karad Etran." While a bit more downcast and circled by a poignant high-pitched chorus, the title track manages to remain merry and celebratory.

Perhaps the triumphant spirit found on Anar is a reflection of Moctar's story as a whole. After teaching himself the guitar in his youth and moving to Libya, where he took random jobs, Moctar joined a community of guitarists and kept studying music. Sahel Sounds, the brainchild of self-described "rogue ethno-musicologist" Chris Kirkley, soon found out about Moctar and featured his music on the label/blog's Music from Saharan Cellphones: Volume 1 release. After recording Anar, in 2013 Moctar released Afelan, an autotune-less Niger-recorded folk album. Also an actor, Moctar is starring in the highly anticipated Tuareg remake of Prince's Purple Rain from Kirkley and Jerome Fino. Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai, which roughly translates to "Rain the Color of Blue with a little Red in it" and also marks the first time a film is shot entirely in the Tuareg language, recently completed filming and will soon screen in Agadez. For now listen to Moctar's Tuareg autotune adaptation Anar below.

Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.