Live Concert Photography: City Farms Presents: Mdou Moctar with Boogarins at Industry City 9/4/19
The acclaimed Agadez, Niger-based Tuareg singer/songwriter and guitarist Mdou Moctar was born in a small and remote village in central Niger stepped in strict, deeply religious tradition. Growing up, secular music was prohibited — and yet, the young Moctar taught himself to play on a homemade guitar, cobbled together out of wood. Several years passed before he found a real guitar and taught himself to play in secret. Once he began to master the instrument, Moctar immediately became a star among the village youth. But in a rather surprising turn, he began to win over local religious leaders with songs that touched upon themes of respect, honor, tradition and so on.
In 2008, the Tuareg singer/songwriter and guitarist traveled to Sokoto, Nigeria, where he recorded his full-length debut, Anar, a Hausa music-inspired album which prominently featured spacey autotuned vocals, electronics and Moctar’s dexterous guitar work. Although the album wasn’t officially released, much of the album’s material was traded across cell phone and mp3 trading networks, which helped Moctar to become wildly popular across Saharan and Sub-Saharan Africa. The album’s material was later released on the compilation Music from Saharan Cellphones.
Moctar’s sophomore album 2013’s Afelan was compiled from field recordings of live performances recorded in his village. But after the release of the album, he shifted gears to producing and starring in the world’s first Taureg language motion picture, a critically applauded, culturally appropriate homage to Prince‘s Purple Rain and Harder They Come, titled Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai, which translates as “Rain the Color of Blue with a Little Red In It.”
2017 saw the acclaimed Tuareg singer/songwriter and guitarist changing directions yet again, as he recored Sousoume Tamachek, a solo folk album in which Moctar played every instrument on the album, while pushing Tuareg music as far as he could sonically. Interestingly, his latest effort, Ilana (The Creator) is his first album recorded with a full band — and the album features some fiery psych rock with the sort of expressionistic and blistering guitar work that would make Jimi Hendrix proud.
Moctar headlined an amazing night of mind-bending and mesmerizing psych rock at Industry City in Sunset Park, Brooklyn with an equally fiery and impressive, career spanning set that felt both timeless and incredibly modern. Opening the night was Brazilian JOVM psych rock mainstays Boogarins. Check out photos from the show below.
With the release of their sophomore album 2015’s Manual, the Brazilian psych rock quartet Boogarins quickly became a JOVM mainstay artist. Now, as you may recall, the act can trace its origins to when founding members Fernando “Dino” Almeida and Benke Ferraz started playing music together as teenagers in their hometown, the central Brazilian city of Goiânia. The music the duo began writing and then eventually recorded revealed a unique vision of psych rock that drew from their homeland’s incredibly diverse musical and cultural history — but with a decidedly modern take. Writing and singing lyrics exclusively in their native Brazilian Portuguese put the act at the forefront of Portuguese language led movement that set them apart from their counterparts. Interestingly, after the release of Manual, the Brazilian JOVM mainstays released material that revealed a band restlessly experimenting with their sound and approach — including an increasing use of synths and beats paired with traditional rock-based instrumentation heard on the band’s third album, 2017’s La Vem a Morte, which was arguably one of the darkest albums thematically in the band’s growing catalog. Interestingly, the band’s most recent effort, the Gordon Zacharias and Benke Ferraz co-produced Sombrou Duvida was recorded over the course of multiple sessions over the course of the past two years, and in between several North American and European tours. And while continuing to elaborate on the dark themes of its immediate predecessor, the album finds the band meshing the songwriting and vocals of their previously recorded material with the home-recorded electronic elements of La Vem a Morte. But perhaps unlike their previously recorded efforts, the album, which was recorded in a large, tuned live room at Austin-based Space Recording Studios allowed the Brazilian JOVM mainstays to accurately capture their current live sound: psych rock and heavy rock power chords colliding with experimental synth-led noise, sinuous bass from Raphael Vaz — with the entire thing held together by drummer Ynaiã Benthroldo. Unsurprisingly, their opening set at Industry City was a career-spanning set featuring material from each of their third albums played in a seemingly effortless yet passionate fashion.