Mdou Moctar – Sousoume Tamachek (4 stars)

Mdou Moctar – Sousoume Tamachek

Atmospheric desert balladry from Niger's guitar hero

In 2015, Nigerien guitar hero Mdou Moctar starred in Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai, a homage to Purple Rain that was the world's first Tuareg language film. Rather than follow it with a full band album based on his dynamite live shows, Moctar has turned left with the atmospheric desert balladry of Sousoume Tamachek.

Electric guitars swirl and flow over cycling acoustic riffs and the steady pulse of calabash percussion, creating a mesmeric setting for Moctar's hushed vocal melodies. The intimacy of the recording is magical, as if you're right there with Moctar, under Saharan skies.

Out now on Sahel Sounds.