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Photo: Simon Arcache

African Acid Is The Future:
Mdou Moctar


Mdou Moctar immediately stands out as one of the most innovative artists in contemporary Saharan music. His unconventional interpretations of Tuareg guitar have pushed him to the forefront of a crowded scene. Back home, he’s celebrated for his original compositions and verbose poetry, an original creator in a genre defined by cover bands. In the exterior, where Saharan rock has become one of the continents biggest musical exports, he’s earned a name for himself with his guitar moves. Mdou shreds with a relentless and frenetic energy that utterly sets him apart.

Mdou Moctar hails from a small village in central Niger in a remote region steeped in religious tradition. Growing up in an area where secular music was all but prohibited, he taught himself to play on a homemade guitar cobbled together out of wood. It was years before he found a “real” guitar and taught himself to play in secret. His immediately became a star amongst the village youth. In a surprising turn, his songs began to win over local religious leaders with their lyrics of respect, honor, and tradition.

In 2008, Mdou traveled to Nigeria to record his debut album of spacey autotune, drum machine, and synthesizer. The album became a viral hit on the mp3 networks of West Africa, and was later released on the compilation Music from Saharan Cellphones. In 2013, he released Afelan, compiled from field recordings of his performances recorded in his village. Then he shifted gears, producing and starring in the first Tuareg language film, a remake of Prince’s Purple Rain (Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red in it). Finally, in 2017, he created a solo folk album, Sousoume Tamachek, a mellow blissed out recording evoking the calm desert soundscape. Without a band present, he played every instrument on the record. “I am a very curious person and I want to push Tuareg music far,” he says.

Ilana is the latest opus of Moctar which he recorded in Detroit in 2018, and from which we will probably hear few songs alongside the now classics from his “répertoire”. Finally, Mdou Moctar will play in the frame of African Acid Is The Future in Berlin, in the intimacy of the Grüner Salon.

African Acid Is The Future is a Berlin-based collective, founded by Maryama Luccioni aka Maryisonacid in 2014 in a Bar in Neukölln. Their night and concert series features a wide range of music genres, and is known for audacious and truly eclectic DJ sets, showcasing live acts all over the world within the context of a party, which has taken place at Loftus Hall as a regular venue, but as well at Festsaal Kreuzberg, Funkhaus and many international venues and festivals. African Acid Is The Future is also responsible for regular radio shows for Berlin Community Radio and Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide FM. After a tremendous year of touring and putting on events which showcased artists such as Les Filles de Illighadad, Guem or Ogoya Nengo and the Dodo Women’s Group, African Acid is the Future released their first LP in collaboration with The Vinyl Factory, Ambiance I, which unveils the essence of their project to a larger audience. To carry on their passionate relationship with live music, African Acid is the Future’s Berlin crew will host a series of concerts at Grüner Salon this year, spanning from Senegalese Kora to French Post Punk.

Past Activities

African Acid Is The Future: Sourakata Koité

Doors 8 pm, concert 9 pm
Tickets: 15 / 10 €

To inaugurate a series of collaborative events with Volksbühne, African Acid Is The Future is glad to host Sourakata Koité´s first concert in Germany. His debut album “En Hollande” is set to be newly published by Awesome Tapes From Africa in January 2019. “En Hollande” was recorded in an old hen-house in Delft in 1984 and has since become nothing short of a modern kora classic. The kora is a lute popular throughout West Africa; It usually has 21 strings, but Koité's customized instrument has 22, and he is known for experimenting with unusual tunings. The kora is mostly known as the central instrument of the djéli (or griot in French), the hereditary caste of musician-storyteller-historians in West Africa, who are highly respected members of the ancestral caste societies.

Sourakata Koité was born in a Senegalese village close to the Mauritanian border in 1955. He is a member of a family of djéli, and his musical life began early: he started playing kora at the age of 3 and was performing alongside his family members by the age of 11. In 1975 he moved to Dakar, and then to Paris in 1977, where he made a living playing in upscale African restaurants. In Paris, he played with many different bands and musicians, including Les Lézards, Les Ballets Kodia, La Kola, Le Griot de Paris, Manu Dibango, Jacques Higelin, Touré Kounda, Manfeï Obin, Mangala, Luther Allison and Mah Damba. Influenced by his eclectic musical encounters in Paris, he expanded his musical repertory and began to compose and build koras, and has since released albums and toured worldwide.

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