Mdou Moctar

Funeral For Justice / Tears For Justice

Matador • 2024

From a wedding band with a desert panorama to a hard rock band with a mosh pit: The career of this band from Niger and their guitarist of the same name is as astonishing as it is improbable. Their new album, »Funeral For Justice«, is not only the angriest and most political of the quartet’s work—Tuareg rock has never been so hard. The musical traditions of the Sahara in Mali, Niger and Algeria, the homeland of the Tuareg people, still shape Mdou Moctar’s sound, but when it gets louder and rougher, the exceptional guitarist lets his love of Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen run riot with the amp turned all the way up. Partly sung in the Tamasheq language of the desert people, the song takes a particularly hard swipe at the former colonial power France (»Oh France«), whose cruel machinations of the past are still causing chaos, poverty and insecurity in large parts of Africa. The title track and songs like »Modern Slaves« also deal with this misery in Moctar’s homeland, which was certainly exacerbated by the military coup that followed the completion of the album. All the more important are the anti-colonial voice and the loud guitars of a band who, despite their understandable anger, celebrate their joy of life with a lot of fun.