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Folk Festival 2019

Mdou Moctar

Niger

Mdou Moctar

Mdou Moctar is many things: a musician/singer/songwriter/actor/activist, for starters. It wouldn’t be too far afield to add “unlikely generational talent” to that list. Growing up in Niger, Moctar built his own guitars out of pieces of wood strung with bicycle brake-cables. He hid his talent and passion from his strictly religious family, playing largely in secret to entertain friends but found himself suddenly becoming a sensation as his songs began to burn up the music-swapping-via-cellphone world of West Africa in the late 2000s. When one of these tracks was included on the US-released Music from Saharan Cellphones compilation in 2011, it captured the attention of small but influential corners of the west’s underground including glowing reviews and coverage by notable outlets including NPR, KEXP and The Guardian.It’s no surprise the music translated so easily to western ears as Moctar’s brand of traditional Touareg guitar music is rife with readily recognizable American and British rock influences and references. While he has earned lavish comparisons to guitar gods including Hendrix, Van Halen and Zappa, one needs to look no further than Vernon Reid for a true contemporary. Each player’s fusion of jazz, funk, metal, noise and melodicism draw heavily on each of their backgrounds, and both are utterly singular in a world awash with Stratocasters. Evocative, transportive and eminently musical, Moctar’s inimitable sound will leave guitar geeks overwhelmed and music lovers transfixed.

Biography by Derek McEwen

Only the evening schedules are currently available. Check back for the full schedule in mid-June.