Right now, it’s of dire importance, I feel, to support the musicians and artists from Africa, the Middle East, and other continents who come to the US to perform. Because in order to do so, they first have to run the choking gauntlet put in place by the xenophobic and Islamophobic immigration policies of the Trump administration. Instead of making these musicians feel unwelcome, I say, let’s send them home with feelings of friendship and love. I believe this will go much further toward dissuading hate and terrorism than bombs or blanket discrimination—plus, of course, we'll get to groove out to some amazing and exotic live music we might not otherwise experience. And here’s the perfect opportunity: two area shows this month by Nigerian guitarist Mdou Moctar.
Moctar is a pioneer of electronic Tuareg guitar music and rose to prominence via the trading network of cell phones and memory cards in West Africa, a concept that makes me think of the underground network for trading cassette demos by thrash metal bands the existed in the US back in the 1980s. Although he’d released two albums prior, Moctar’s “Tahoultine” was a standout track of Music from Saharan Cellphones: Volume 1, a seminal cassette compilation released in 2011 by the US-based Sahel Sounds label. The singer and guitarist’s latest release is the soundtrack for the 2015 film Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai, which has him in the lead role and has been described as an homage to Purple Rain and The Harder They Come.
Here’s Moctar holding forth at a wedding in his homeland. If this doesn’t look like a party, I don’t know what does:
Mdou Moctar will perform at BSP in Kingston, New York, on September 25 at 7:30pm; admission is $10. For more information, call (845) 481-5158 http://bspkingston.com or visit Moctar and Aaron Roche will perform at the Half Moon in Hudson, New York, on September 27 at 8pm; tickets are $10 in advance and $12 day of show. For more information, call (518) 828-1562 or visit http://thehalfmoonhudson.com/.