Recorded at the end of the band’s two years touring the world following the release of the groundbreaking album ‘Afrique Victime’ in 2019, it shows the Nigerien quartet in intense form. The music is louder, faster and wilder. The guitar solos burn with feedback and the lyrics are passionately political. Nothing is held back or watered down. The album’s title track was released today. Watch the song’s music video below.

On Sunday, July 7, the band will play at Down The Rabbit Hole Festival. And on August 28 they return to the Netherlands for a show in Paradiso, Amsterdam.

The songs on Funeral For Justice speak candidly about the situation in Niger and the Tuareg people. “This album is really different for me,” explains Moctar, the band’s singer, namesake and undeniably iconic guitarist. “Now the problems of terrorist violence are more serious in Africa. When the US and Europe came here, they said they’re going to help us, but what we see is really different. They never help us to find a solution.”

Mdou Moctar has been a strong anti-colonial band ever since I’ve been a part of it,” says producer and bassist Mikey Coltun, who has been playing with Moctar since 2017. “France came in, fucked up the country, then said ‘you’re free.’ And they’re not.” The song ‘Oh France‘ addresses this directly: “France veils its actions in cruelty / We are better without this turbulent relationship / We must understand their endless lethal games.”

On the first single and the title track, Moctar addresses African leaders directly and asks them: “Retake control of your countries, rich in resources / Build them and quit sleeping“. The song ‘Sousoume Tamacheq‘ deals with the fate of the Tuareg, to which end the band belongs to, and which are mainly spread across three countries: Niger, Mali and Algeria. “Oppressed in all three / In addition to lack of unity, ignorance is the third issue.” Another song, ‘Imouhar‘, calls out the Tuareg to preserve their Tamasheq language – it is at risk of extinction, and Mdou is one of the few in his community who can write it. “People here are just using French,” Mdou laments. “They’re starting to forget their own language. We feel like in a hundred years no one will speak good Tamasheq, and that’s so scary for us.”

Mdou Moctar in its current form is first and foremost a band. In addition to Moctar, it consists of rhythm guitarist Ahmoudou Madassane, drummer Souleymane Ibrahim and American bassist and producer Mikey Coltun. The band started performing at traditional weddings. These are high energy events – amps are turned up to 11 and the whole village is invited. “I grew up in the DC punk scene and this is no different,” Coltun explains. “It’s a DIY punk show: people bring generators, they crank their amps. Things are broken, but they make it work.”

Bringing that energy and sense of community to new audiences is an important goal for the band. Their first concerts in the US were sometimes, mistakenly, staged as tame seating arrangements. That is no longer the case. In more than 100 shows, they have proven themselves as one of the world’s most vital rock bands – rooted in Tuareg tradition, but undeniably a unique organism. A Mdou Moctar concert is now known as a place for dancing, if not full-on moshing.

Ilana was the gateway album, saying that this is a raw rock band. And Afrique Victime was a summation of that vision,” says Coltun, who recorded the entire album in five days in a largely unfurnished house in upstate New York. “With Funeral For Justice, I really wanted this to shine with the political message because of everything that’s going on. As the band got tighter and heavier live, it made sense to capture this urgency and this aggression – it wasn’t a forced thing, it was very natural.”

In July 2023 – after Funeral For Justice was completed – Niger’s democratically elected government was deposed in a military coup. The president was placed under house arrest and the country was plunged into a state of chaos and uncertainty. The French have withdrawn. The area remains threatened by terrorism. The band – at the time on tour in the US – was unable to return to their families for some time.

I don’t support the coup,” Mdou explains, “but I never in my life liked France in my country. I don’t hate France or French people, I don’t hate American people either, but I don’ t support their manipulative policies, what they do in Africa. In 2023 we want to be free, we need to smile, you understand?”

Tracklist “Funeral For Justice” 
1. Funeral For Justice
2. Imouhar
3. Takoba
4. Sousoume
5. Imagerhan
6. Tchinta
7. Djallo #1
8. Oh France
9. Modern Slaves


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