Tuareg psych-rock artist Mdou Moctar is one of the best guitarists of this current era, and he’s back with more new music up his sleeve. Moctar has released the title track from his upcoming album Afrique Victime, due out May 21st via Matador, along with a black-and-white music video that splices live performance scenes together. Stream it below.
This is the second single Mdou Moctar has shared from Afrique Victime, following “Tala Tannam”. This new seven-minute rallying cry sees him knead a pulsing groove and mesmerizing guitar riff into a foundation that stabilizes his mournful chants. “The wind born in Tunisia spread all over Arabia/ Africa is a victim of so many crimes,” he sings. “If we stay silent it will be the end of us/ Why is this happening?” It’s dizzying and powerful all at once, like a burst of psych rock meant to bring a tear to your eye.
In a statement, he explained the personal meaning imbued in this new track. “‘Afrique Victime’ is a message to all of the countries with money and power who come into Africa and kill the leaders who try to empower the people and lead revolutions,” said Moctar. “This pushes the area into danger and instability and emboldens the terrorists, and it’s the people who suffer and have no justice. Africa is innocent. The French use our uranium, but 90% of the people here don’t have electricity. Imagine.”
Pre-orders for Afrique Victime on vinyl, CD, and digital formats are currently ongoing. Mdou Moctar is also selling a special limited “cellphone edition” of the album, which features a specially mastered version of Afrique Victime pre-loaded onto a classic Nokia 6120 handset — an homage to the early days of Moctar’s career when his music took off thanks to word-of-mouth Bluetooth mobile phone swaps.
It’s hard to believe, but there’s a good chance fans could see Mdou Moctar live in person (!) as soon as this fall. Earlier this week, Bonnaroo announced its 2021 lineup and it includes none other than the guitar virtuoso himself. Moctar scheduled to play Saturday, September 4th — the same day as Lizzo, Tame Impala, My Morning Jacket, and Phoebe Bridgers, among others — and tickets are on sale now.