'Desert Blues' Band To Play The Illinois Prairie | WGLT

'Desert Blues' Band To Play The Illinois Prairie

Sep 7, 2017

The thriving Desert Blues sound of the Saharan peoples of North Africa is the spiritual homeland of the blues. Mdou Moctar is a Niger-based disciple of that sound. He's about to embark on a short American tour that kicks off at Reverberation Vinyl in Bloomington.

“It was a lucky break for me,” said store owner John Anderson. “A very fortunate balance for me to be able to push the music that I personally love and things you’re not going to see around here, and just provide an experience people wouldn’t get anywhere else in the area.”

Though still a fringe genre, Desert Blues is attracting a wider audience. Bands including Tinariwen and Bombino have been making inroads in the U.S. market with incessant tours and recordings. Anderson said Moctar brings a slightly different flavor to this sound.

“It’s a lot more pure for Moctar at this point,” said Anderson. “I saw Bombino twice two years apart, and the western influence in the middle of that kind of derailed him in my opinion. But what really gets me with Moctar is his sound, which is much closer to what you’d get at a wedding party in Agadez in Niger. It’s much more of an authentic experience with him.”

Anderson said Moctar will set up as a three-piece band when he plays Reverberation, including two guitars and a drummer.

“The sound you’re going to get is much more raw, much closer to the experience of seeing him in his native home with friends and family and at weddings and gig in his home in Africa. I’ve seen both Tinarewin and Bombino and I’ve enjoyed them, but what you’ll get with Moctar is a much more honest and real experience,” said Anderson.

** UPDATE: Mdou Moctar plays Reverberation Vinyl at 1302 N. Main St. on June 4.  Showtime is 8 p.m.

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