Mdou Moctar: Akounak

Mdou Moctar returns to Oakland's historic Fruitvale district following sold-out performances with MATATU for two consecutive years. We were one of the only arthouses in the world to pair a screening of Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai (Rain the Color of Blue with A Little Red in it) with a live desert blues performance featuring its star: Mdou Moctar. You're invited to an encore at Red Bay Coffee, the largest Black specialty coffee roaster in the nation.

The robust rock tradition among the Tuareg people — a Berber group with origins around the southern Sahara — has long been represented internationally by artists like Bombino and Tinariwen. Moctar, a singer-songwriter, offers a subtler, more intimate variation on their desert blues with his most recent album “Sousoume Tamachek.” Translated from the Tuareg dialect in which he sings, the title of the soothing, stripped-down release fittingly translates to something like “calm down.” He’s responsible for every note on the album, layering electric and acoustic guitar, percussion, and singing with mesmerizing results.

Mdou Moctar and his band have toured Europe and North America, playing sold out shows from small DIY rock clubs in Portland to New York City’s Lincoln Center. His music has been featured in the BBC, The Guardian, Pitchfork, New Yorker, L.A. Weekly, NPR, Rolling Stone, Les Inrocks, and his film continues to be screened at film festivals around the world. From underground star of Niger to international film star, Mdou Moctar has undoubtedly one of the quickest rises to success.

Red Bay Coffee
April 18 • 7:00PM

Genre: Drama/Musical
Year: 2015
Length: 75’
Nation: Niger
Language: Tamashek (English subtitles
Director: Christopher Kirkley


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Christopher Kirkley is the founder of Sahel Sounds, a recording project and vinyl record label focused on culture in the West African Sahel. He is also an editor and director known for A Cosmic and Earthly History of Recorded Music According to Mississippi Records (2014), Rain the Color of Blue with a Little Red in It (2015), and Zerzura (2017).