Concerts from the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

MAY 10, 2018, 12:00 PM

Mdou Moctar

Coolidge Auditorium

Mdou Moctar is a Tuareg guitarist from a small village in the Azawagh desert of Niger. He plays in the tradition of desert guitar popularized by groups like Tinariwen and Bombino, but adds his own personal touches to the genre. His music is rooted in tradition, with polyrhythms borrowed from the traditional guitar-and-calabash style called "takamba" and lyrics sung in the style of old nomadic poets. His guitar playing is nonetheless wild and unrelenting, showing the influence of global pop.

Coming from a remote region steeped in religious tradition where guitar music was all but prohibited, he taught himself to play on a homemade guitar cobbled together out of planks of wood. Teaching himself in secret, and eventually finding a “real” guitar, he became a local celebrity among the village youth, and went on to become an international recording artist. In 2015, he co-wrote and starred in the first ever Tuareg language film, a Saharan remake of Prince’s Purple Rain.

A free noon concert series presented by the American Folklife Center and the Music Division of the Library of Congress. Most concerts are held in the Coolidge Auditorium (located on the Ground Floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress) or the Whittall Pavilion (next to the Coolidge, on the Ground Floor, Jefferson Building). Occasionally, concerts may be in other locations, which will be specified above in the concert description. Presented in Partnership with the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. NO TICKETS REQUIRED.