21 January at 9.30pm
Born in the Azawagh desert of Niger, Mdou Moctar taught himself to play a homemade guitar and found his first fans in the sub-culture of West African cell phone music trading. After one of those tracks proved a standout on the cult compilation Music From Saharan Cellphones Vol. 1, he was signed to U.S.-based Sahel Sounds where his electrified, psych-influenced takes on traditional Tuareg guitar reached even wider acclaim.
Moctar’s renown rose as the star and soundtrack composer of the 2015 film Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai – a Tuareg phrase that literally translates to “rain the colour of blue with a little red in it” (the Tuareg are a semi-nomadic Berber group in North Africa, and their language Tamashek, has no word for the colour purple). The film became a hit at festivals around the world, and not only the first Tuareg-language feature film but also a Prince homage unlike any other.
Moctar’s artful solos are inspired more by the fretboard heroics of Hendrix than the West African griots whose traditions he’s twisted into something that feels entirely new.
Note: The Meriton Festival Village is a licensed venue. Under 18s must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
Photo: Christopher Kirkley
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