Important New Music: Mdou Moctar’s “Funeral For Justice”


Issues are going downhill, and Mahamadou “Mdou Moctar” Souleymane is just not blissful about it. Souleymane, who has given his stage title to the band he leads, has been constructing to this second for some time. He’s been touring the world since 2017, honing a sound that mixes the bluesy tonalities and loping beats of guitar music from Africa’s Sahel area with piercing leads, hard-hitting energy chords and accelerated rhythms which are a part of rock ’n’ roll’s lingua franca. The final Mdou Moctar album, 2021’s Afrique Victime, broached the subjects of cultural survival and post-colonial exploitation. Such considerations are entrance and heart on Funeral For Justice, as Souleymane lays it down and says it how he sees it.

What he sees is just not good. Written in opposition to a backdrop of financial distress and political unrest in his dwelling nation of Niger, Funeral For Justice is concentrated solely on the erosion of fortune that afflicts your common African. A number of songs name out nationwide leaders who don’t care in regards to the folks they purport to steer and the Western nations that take greater than they offer. (These tracks refer particularly to France and the USA.) Others mourn the erosion of respect and folkways, considerations that Souleymane fights materially by singing in Tamashek, the Tuareg tongue. Nonetheless, you don’t want to grasp a phrase or learn the translated lyrics to know that Souleymane and crew are outraged. You’ll be able to hear it within the singing and within the music, which distills the band’s established sound to an essence that’s as caustic as it’s catchy. Justice might lay six toes underground, however Mdou Moctar is up and swinging. [Matador]

—Invoice Meyer

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