Preview: Mdou Moctar
- Stewart Smith
- 19 November 2015
One of the most exciting guitarists on earth plays his first Scottish shows
The trailer to Tedalat Taha Tazoughai (‘Rain the colour of red with a little blue in it’) sees Mdou Moctar riding a motorbike across the Sahara desert, a guitar slung across his back. The soundtrack is suitably panoramic: fluid, modal guitar licks, halfway between Jimi Hendrix and Ali Farka Touré, over the camel train lope of the drums.
The world’s first Tuareg language feature film, Tedalat… tells the fictionalised story of the young Agadez guitar hero, folding in more than a few nods to Prince's Purple Rain and Jimmy Cliff's The Harder They Come. At the time of press, screenings of the movie are still to be confirmed, but Moctar's live shows – his first in Scotland – are unmissable, with the crackling energy and showmanship that comes from rocking Saharan wedding parties and Western rock clubs alike.
Moctar's music is in the takamba and assouf styles, faster and rawer than that of Tinariwen. His 2008 debut, Anar, is a still-astonishing fusion of Tuareg music, autotune and drum machines, but subsequent releases have focussed on his acoustic campfire songs and wild electric jams. Wielding his left-handed Stratocaster, Moctar is one of the most exciting guitarists on the planet.
Mdou Moctar plays The Hug & Pint, Glasgow, Fri 20 Nov and Electric Circus, Edinburgh, Sat 21 Nov.