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Album: Mdou Moctar - Funeral for Justice | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Mdou Moctar - Funeral for Justice

Album: Mdou Moctar - Funeral for Justice

Tuareg rockers are on fiery form

'Funeral for Justice': packed with revolutionary zeal

Despite its title, Mdou Moctar’s new album is no slow-paced mournful dirge. In fact, it is louder, faster and more overtly political than any of his band’s previous discs – not so much desert blues as desert punk.

Taking up the twin causes of the Tuareg people of West Africa and the post-colonial disaster that has befallen Niger since the end of French occupation, it is nothing short of ferocious in its revolutionary zeal. Repeated riffs, hand-clap percussion, explosive guitars and call-and-response vocals all combine to build an irresistible set that will no doubt create a serious storm when these songs are revealed on stage.

“Retake control of your countries, rich in resources” they howl in the Tamashek language on the title track, while yelling “We must understand their endless lethal games” on the feral “Oh France”. This may sound somewhat dry in translation, but it certainly isn’t the case in Moctar’s mother tongue. Something that’s more than backed up with the often lairy sounds that support the message – which are not only dancefloor friendly but could quite easily get a mosh-pit going, especially with the wild frenzy of “Imouhar”.

This isn’t to say that Funeral for Justice is a one-speed set. “Takoba” is more mellow with its trippy camel’s gait, while “Modern Slaves” is something of a lament for those who find themselves exploited by the wealthy and powerful. But Souleymana Ibrahim and Mikey Coltun’s rhythm section does spend most of its time propelling these songs with a righteous fury, in a way that has no interest in cliché or one-dimensional nihilism.

This album is the real deal and, at a time when most Western musicians seem to be afraid or uninterested in calling out those who are driving us all to disaster, the rebellious baton is certainly being taken up by Mdou Moctar and others in the Global South who find themselves at the sharp end of the carnage that presently threatens great swathes of humanity. 

Repeated riffs, hand-clap percussion, explosive guitars and call-and-response vocals all combine to build an irresistible set

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Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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