News

Mdou Moctar's Tuareg 'Purple Rain' Remake Soundtrack

The soundtrack to the Nigerien 'Purple Rain' remake 'Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai', by Mdou Moctar is now available through Sahel Sounds.


Earlier this year, we reported that a soundtrack for the feature-length film Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai (Rain the Color Blue with a little Red in it) — a Niger-based film inspired by Prince's 1984 cult classic Purple Rain and Jimmy Cliff's 1973 film The Harder They Come — was in its final stages of mixing. The 11-song soundtrack is now here, recorded over the last two years by Tuareg guitarist Mdou Moctar, who's also the star of the musical film documenting his experience as an up-and-coming artist striving to make it in Niger's guitar scene.

The soundtrack includes somber acoustic compositions as well as instrumental recordings, some of which Mdou Moctar and his team created under a tree using a portable amplifier. Much like Prince's classic Purple Rain album, the Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai Soundtrack also boasts moody electric guitar riffs and solemnly crooned melodies. Stream the full soundtrack below and purchase it on vinyl or by digital download via Sahel Sounds.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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