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Baker's Dozen

Resistance Songs: Mdou Moctar's Favourite Music
David McKenna , May 26th, 2021 08:34

From Van Halen to Ali Farka Touré via Bob Marley, Tinariwen and Oumou Sangaré, Mdou Moctar takes us through the thirteen albums, tracks, artists and styles that made him who he is


Oumou Sangare - Moussolou

With Oumou for me it isn’t just her voice, but the music behind her as well. Her music is really particular too and very moving because she’s created a cross between traditional music and modern, so there are people playing guitar and people playing ngonis. She brought all that together, with a voice which is incredible. So these are things that really removed any doubt for me that traditional music could work in harmony with modern music, that it would give a new flavour.

She also chooses some incredible soloists – it’s through Oumou Sangare that I became aware of the talent of someone like Baba Salah, he’s an amazing guitar player. Because here when we play solos we don’t have two guitars playing together, that’s how it is in our traditional music, but through Oumou Sangare I realised that you can have two guitars, one person doing a solo with a guitar with thick strings and the other soloing using a guitar with thin strings. The combination of the two makes for music that is really exceptional and presentable. And I like her a lot, I was really surprised when she was being asked questions once about her favourite artist from the Niger, and she said me, I didn’t know she’d even heard of me!