Though the Tuareg guitarist Mdou Moctar has been putting out music for a while now, he caught worldwide attention in a big way last year. In 2019, we named him both an Artist To Watch and one of the year’s best new acts on the strength of his mesmerizing, roiling new album Ilana: The Creator. Today, Moctar’s announced that he’s signed to Matador Records. He’ll release a new album on the label next year.
Along with the announcement, Moctar has shared a new single setting up his new LP. It’s called “Chismiten.” “The song is about how people in a relationship lose their sense of self, they become jealous and envious of others,” Moctar said in a statement. “It is not about one specific person, but about all people in the world. I turn to Allah for guidance not to be that person.”
Musically, “Chismiten” has the fiery, psych-tinged interpretation of Saharan desert blues that Moctar’s made his name on — and as soon Moctar’s sunburst guitar ripples into some background yelps and the song locks into its groove, it feels great to have him back. “Chismiten” also comes with a video that mixes illustrations by Robert Beatty — who was the man behind the Ilana cover — cellphone footage shot at markets and weddings in Niger. Check it out below.
“Chismiten” is out now via Matador.