Electric guitar virtuoso Mdou Moctar has announced Niger EP Vol. 1, a six-track offering that contains an unreleased 13-minute guitar jam titled Imouhar.
Joining the extended epic are live renditions of four tracks lifted from a handful of Moctar’s studio and live albums, including Afrique Victime (2012), Afelan (2012) and Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai (2015).
These tracks – Sibidoul, Afelan, Layla and Afrique Victime – are joined by the guitar jam, as well as a drum machine version of Chismiten, the opening track of Afrique Victime.
Moctar’s latest EP has been released in its entirety today (August 24), but it's Imouhar that steals the spotlight. Unsurprisingly, it’s a thrilling addition to Moctar’s repertoire, with the Nigerian guitarist flexing his soloing stamina by opening the track with more than six solid minutes of lead playing.
The flurries of fiery licks give way to some roots-y riffing – colored with sporadic melodies – around the halfway mark, but Moctar soon picks things back up again to close Imouhar out with one final fretboard workout.
Niger EP Vol. 1 was conceived back in 2021 when Moctar and his producer/bass player Mikey Coltun began working on the Mdou Moctar mixtape series. Compiled from old audio recordings, interview clips and voice memos, the project turned into the EP, which aims to “examine the roots of the Mdou Moctar band”.
As such, the live recordings contained in the EP are performances of the Mdou Moctar band at weddings, picnics, rehearsals and impromptu house concerts.
As Coltun explains, “Early Mdou recordings were contained on cassettes, though the humble tape was soon replaced by the quick and easy facility of cellphone technology. Long bus rides are common in West Africa.
“On one of these rides, you might be seated next to a stranger and ask, ‘What are you listening to?’” he continued. “Then a song exchange would begin over Bluetooth. This is a very real way artists found their music distributed far from home.
“In that vein, the Niger EP series features solely recordings taped in Mdou Moctar's home country of Niger. Volume 1 begins the series with a mix of recordings from 2017-2020, documenting the band at weddings, picnics, rehearsals, and even impromptu house concerts.”
The Niger EP Vol. 1 track list can be found below.
- Imouhar (Drum Machine Version)
- Chismiten (Drum Machine Version)
- Sibidoul (Live)
- Afelan (Live)
- Layla (Live)
- Afrique Victime (Live)
- Niger EP Vol. 1 (opens in new tab) is available now.