Photo: Ebru Yildiz

Mdou Moctar unleash the blistering “Oh France”

Niger’s Mdou Moctar are releasing their new album Funeral For Justice this Friday but before that have revealed one final teaser in the form of “Oh France”. Africa has a long and complicated history with France, with the most recent twist coming in July 2023 when they withdrew from Niger after terrorists deposed the democratically elected president. Without French support, terrorism is still rife in the area and this stopped Mdou Moctar from being able to return home for some time after their US tour.

Eponymous band leader Mdou Moctar says: “I don’t support the coup, 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?”

The fury, sadness and conflicted feelings are all wrapped up in the turbulent and twisting “Oh France”. The drumming charges onwards while the guitar fires like a series of lightning bolts, the band’s gang vocals coming together in a ribbon of torment and collective mourning. As “Oh France” gallops to its blistering finale, each element is amplified, the storm in the players’ minds transmitting via their instrumental prowess.

Listen to “Oh France” below or find it on streamers.

Mdou Moctar’s new album Funeral For Justice arrives this Friday, 3 May, via Matador (pre-order/save). You can find Mdou Moctar on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Bandcamp.