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Mdou Moctar proves why he's one of today's most exhilarating guitar virtuosos with electrifying Niamey, Niger performance

Powered by irresistible grooves and a mélange of explosive, original and searingly melodic electric guitar playing, Mdou Moctar's Afrique Victime is one of 2021's must-listen albums.

In late 2020, Moctar and his band – Mikey Coltun on bass, Souleymane Ibrahim on drums and Ahmoudou Madassane on rhythm guitar – met up in Niamey, the capital of Moctar's native Niger, to do some recording. The quartet stayed at the home of a friend on the outskirts of Niamey, outside of which – one day – they simply decided to plug in and play.

As Coltun explains in a press release: "What started as the four of us simply playing a few songs for a camera turned into a three-night run of rowdy concerts, bringing in hundreds of eager listeners."

The concerts have been edited into a single 45-minute film, which you can check out above.

Mdou Moctar performs live in Niamey, Niger with his band

(Image credit: Mdou Moctar/YouTube)

The electrifying performance shows the quartet gamely tackling some of Afrique Victime's most stellar tunes, in addition to some equally killer selections from Moctar's back catalog.

Moctar is absolutely on fire, clearly inspired by the enthusiasm of the spontaneously gathered crowd.

“I prefer the concert to the studio," he explained in a recent interview with Guitar World. "The studio obstructs me a lot. In a concert, everyone is singing and everyone is dancing. It is not just you. It’s not just your energy, it is the energy of everyone. 

“The studio is a different energy. Everybody listens to you, and only you. You have to do something special, just you! In a concert, the people push you to do something you could not do before.”

Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at guitarworld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.