Mdou Moctar
Mdou Moctar / Photo: Sachyn Mital

Mdou Moctar and Bartees Strange Thrill at the Brooklyn Academy of Music

Hanif Abdurraqib curated an exciting genre-defying series of concerts at the Brooklyn Academy of Music that kicked off with Mdou Moctar and Bartees Strange.

When the Brooklyn Academy of Music announced their spring 2022 music series, curated by writer and critic Hanif Abdurraqib, many New Yorkers likely shared a similar sentiment. With artists like Moses Sumney, Mavis Staples, Little Simz, and Dawn Richard, it’s easy to agree with Gothamist’s Ben Yakas when he stated, “This is the rare festival where I wanted to see almost every single artist.” during an interview with Abdurraqib

On 25 February, BAM hosted the first show of the series featuring two buzzing artists, Nigerian guitar virtuoso Mdou Moctar (who recently released a deluxe version of last year’s tremendous Afrique Victime) and rising pop-rocker Bartees Strange. Opening the night, Strange played an excellent set that included one new song, “Heavy Heart”, alongside tracks from his debut Live Forever. Afterward, Abdurraqib took the stage to introduce the show and humbly note that he was honored to be curating the series.

Bartees Strange
Photos: Sachyn Mital
Bartees Strange
Bartees Strange

When Moctar took the stage alongside bassist Mikey Coltun, rhythm guitarist Ahmoudou Madassane, and percussionist Souleymane Ibrahim, he sat down front and center. The group began with “Tala Tannam” and continued with a string of mellow songs, including “Bismillahi Atagah”, his band locked into the hypnotic groove. By the fifth song, though, Moctar had ditched the stool to give his guitar more breathing room and invited the audience to get out of their seats to groove with the group. 

Moctar shredded his way through the remainder of the night, taking intense solos on songs like the sonic ride of “Asdikte Akal” and in between the uplifting “Chismiten”. Finally, after a short break, Moctar began the encore of “Sousoume Tamachek” solo allowing the band a few moments more before they too returned. 

Mdou Moctar
Photos: Sachyn Mital
Mdou Moctar
Mdou Moctar
Mdou Moctar
Mdou Moctar
Mdou Moctar
Mdou Moctar
Mdou Moctar

Mdou Moctar Tour Dates

March 10 First Avenue, Minneapolis MN %
March 11 Turner Hall Ballroom, Milwaukee WI %
March 12 The Riviera Theatre, Chicago IL %
March 13 MOCAD, Detroit MI %
March 15 Mr. Smalls Theatre, Millvale PA %
March 16 Agora Theatre, Cleveland OH %
March 17 Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Toronto ON %
March 18 Corona Theatre, Montreal QC %
March 19 Northern VT State, Lyndon VT
March 20 Higher Ground, Burlington VT ^
March 21 Colony, Woodstock NY ^
March 22 9:30 Club, Washington DC ^
March 24 The Ramkat, Winston Salem NC ^
March 25 Big Ears Festival, Knoxville TN
April 1st Het Bos, Antwerpen [BE]
April 2nd AB-club, Brussels [BE]
April 3rd Bumann, Köln [DE]
April 4th Paradiso, Amsterdam [NL]
April 5th Effenaar, Eindhoven [NL]
April 6th, Komedia, Brighton [UK]
April 7th Hare & Hounds, Birmingham [UK]
April 8th The Sugar Club, Dublin [IE]
April 9th Ulster Sports Club, Belfast [UK]
April 10th Drygate, Glasgow [UK]
April 11th The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds [UK]
April 12th YES, Manchester [UK]
April 14th Earth Theatre, London [UK] (venue change)
April 15th La cave aux Poètes, Roubaix/Lille [FR]
April 16th Le Hasard Ludique, Paris [FR]
April 17th Doornroosje, Nijmegen [NL]
April 18th Molotow – Hamburg [DE]
April 19th Alice, Copenhagen [DK]
April 20th Nefertiti, Gothenburg [SE]
April 21st Blaa, Oslo [NO]
April 22nd, Fasching, Stockholm [SE]
April 23rd Plan B, Malmö [SE]
April 24th Frannz Club, Berlin [DE]
April 25th UT Connewitz, Leipzig [DE]
April 26th Meetfactory, Prague [CZ]
April 27th Kapu, Linz [AU]
April 28th Rote Fabrik, Zurich [CH]
May 1st De Post, Oostende [BE]
July 14 Pori Jazz Festival, Pori FI
August 6 Off Festival, Myslowice PL
August 10 Øyafestivalen, Oslo NO
August 19 Green Man Festival, Powys UK
August 28 – 29, This Ain’t No Picnic, Pasadena CA

% w/ Parquet Courts
^ w/ Emily Robb
w/ Bartees Strange