Arounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai [Original Soundtrack Recording]
It’s easy enough – and fair enough – to have a lighthearted chuckled around some of the absurdities of this project – a remake of Prince’s Purple Rain movie in a language with no word for ‘Purple’; crowd-funded and starring the guitarist that penned the film’s soundtrack (well, that part’s no stretch – and in line with the original) but one thing that this music does straight away is tell you it’s no joke; no mere novelty. Tuareg musician Mdou Moctor does star in a film that translates as Rain The Colour of Blue with a Little Red In It – yes! – but that soundtrack is a kick-ass set of grooves and spiralling, spidery psychedelic guitar/desert blues chomps.
This music cascades, it burns into you – the guitar and vocal chanting supported by big rock drums that slide between genres, as if Tinariwen were jamming with S.E. Rogie; that slight hint of reggae and calypso inside big, stomping guitar workouts.
It’s a marvel to hear this – and a joy. Opener, Sibidou, sets the tone before Rhaicha’s Themes sees a solo guitar intro evoke a rising of the sun – it’s more a segue, a brief cue, but most of the pieces here get to sprawl and unfold across four/five/six minutes – there’s heartwarming party funk (Iblis Amghar) and curious folk-blues feels (J’ai Pas Le Choix). As with the best of the African desert blues music this is a whole new world of sound – and so easy to slip into it; that this set of tunes comes with a wonderful backstory around a rewrite/translation of Prince’s seminal semi-autobiographical tale is, well, it’s just a bit of fun I guess, a nice breaking down of any barrier to entry. There’s no worries about missing anything in translation here, if you arrive at the music for the mere novelty of what it’s soundtracking you’ll still be blown away by what you hear. If you already knew Moctor’s explorative guitar work then you had some inkling already of the magic he conjures.
Oh – and the film is no mere lark, it’s a serious tale taken from Moctor’s story, about a life on the run making music, politics and technology as charms and hindrances.