Mdou Moctar

Thekla

Hailing from a small village in central Niger, Mdou Moctar self taught himself music using a homemade guitar made from cobbled together wood. Mdou recorded his first album in 2008 in NIgeria, becoming a viral hit in Western Africa with his use of spacey autotune, synthesizers and drum machines.

Mdou Moctar immediately stands out as one of the most innovative artists in contemporary Saharan music. His unconventional interpretations of Tuareg guitar and 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 puts his contemporaries to shame.

As Mdou travels the world, he divides his time between two places, alternating from lavish weddings in Agadez to sold out concerts in Berlin nightclubs. It offers a unique perspective, but also means that he needs to address different audiences. At home, his compositions send a message to his people. Abroad, his music is an opportunity to be heard and represent his people on a world stage.

His music has been featured in the BBC, The Guardian, Pitchfork, New Yorker, New York Times, L.A. Weekly, NPR, Rolling Stone, and Les Inrocks.

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