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by Mdou Moctar

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Ibitlan 04:03


Sahel Sounds is excited to share Mdou Moctar's latest single, "Ibitlan." Recorded at the same sessions as Mdou's recent album Ilana: The Creator, "Ibitlan" has been a staple of Mdou's band's live shows over the past years, sometimes being played at lengths of 10+ minutes!

Whereas Ilana: The Creator's lyrical content often focused on life in postcolonial Niger, "Ibitlan" is more focused on matters of the heart. When describing the song, Mdou said, "It's like when there's a valley, with a stream running through it, and all the plants are green, the song is about how my girlfriend is beautiful like that. Her skin is like a yellow flower, and her smile is like lightning."

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. He 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.

"Ibitlan" appears on a 7" single that is limited to 500 copies and be available exclusively at Mdou Moctar's Spring 2020 tour and direct from the Sahel Sounds website.


released March 13, 2020

Mahamadou Souleymane (Mdou Moctar) : lead guitar, vocals
Ahmoudou Madassane : rhythm guitar, vocals
Michael Coltun : Bass
Aboubacar Mazawadje : Drums

Recorded by Christopher Koltay at High Bias Recordings, Detroit, Michigan May 2018

Additional recording by Michael Coltun at Studio Moustique, Niger October 2018

Mixed by Seth Manchester at Machines With Magnets
Mastered by Heba Kadry
Produced by Michael Coltun and Christopher Kirkley

Album Art by Ahmed Guisse
Layout by Christopher Kirkley


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Mdou Moctar Agadez, Niger

Mdou Moctar immediately stands out as one of the most innovative artists in contemporary Saharan music. His unconventional interpretations of Tuareg guitar and have pushed him to the forefront of a crowded scene. Mdou shreds with a relentless and frenetic energy that puts his contemporaries to shame. ... more

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