One of the first musicians to perform electronic Tuareg guitar music, Mdou Moctar is a songwriter/musician based in Agadez, Niger. Ever since the Saharan guitar music started becoming popular across the world towards the dawn of the millennium, a lot of Tuareg rock acts have been revealed, each with their unique blend of traditional Tuareg sounds with Western music.
Moctar grew up in Niger, first in the rural village of Tchintabaraden and then in the uranium mining town Arlit. His first album, Anar, was recorded in Sokoto, Nigeria in 2008 and become a hit in the viral cellphone-trading networks that function as the Saharan version of file sharing. In 2011, his song “Tahoultine“, the opening track of Anar, was included in the widely praised Music From Saharan Cellphones: Volume 1 compilation.
His next album, Afelan, was recorded live in Tchintabaraden – named after a celebrated historical/folkloric hero of the Azawough of Western Niger. He starred in the remake of Purple Rain, in a movie titled Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai, which translates to Rain The Color Of Blue With A Little Red In It – the first feature film ever made in the Tuareg language. The movie’s 2015 soundtrack was followed by his release of Sousoume Tamachek in 2017, a solo acoustic desert blues album.
Recently, he released his fifth album this year named Ilana (The Creator). The title track talks about the suffering of women in the desert.