Friday, April 12, 2024

“Funeral For Justice” is the new album by Mdou Moctar, set to be released on May 3, 2024. Recorded after two years spent touring the world following the release of “Afrique Victime” in 2019, the album showcases the Nigerien quartet at the peak of their powers. The music is louder, faster, and wilder, with guitar solos ignited by feedback and lyrics passionately political. Nothing is held back or toned down.

The songs on “Funeral For Justice” speak bluntly about the situation in Niger and the Tuareg people. “This album for me is really different – explains Moctar, the band’s singer and iconic guitarist – In Africa, the problems due to terrorism violence are now more serious. When the United States and Europe came here, they said they would help us, but what we see is very different. They never helped us find a solution”.

Mdou Moctar, in its current formation, is first and foremost a band. Alongside Moctar, it consists of rhythm guitarist Ahmoudou Madassane, drummer Souleymane Ibrahim, and American bassist and producer Mikey Coltun. The band began performing at traditional weddings, events where amplifiers are turned up to the maximum and the entire city is invited to participate. Transmitting that energy and sense of community to the audience is an important goal for the band, which has proven to be one of the most vital rock bands in the world. A Mdou Moctar concert is all about dancing, if not outright moshing.

“Ilana was the debut album, to get us recognized as a rock band, and Afrique Victime was the culmination of this vision – says Coltun, who recorded the new record in five days in an empty house north of New York – With Funeral For Justice, I really wanted the political message to be clear, given everything that’s happening”.

Since the band sounds more cohesive and heavier live, it made sense to capture this urgency.

In July 2023, when “Funeral for Justice” was already completed, the democratically elected government of Niger was overthrown by a military coup. The president was placed under house arrest and the nation plunged into a state of chaos and uncertainty. The French withdrew and the area continues to be threatened by terrorism. The band, then touring in the United States, for a period could not return to their families.

words: zizi roberts
image: mdou moktar group

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