Mdou Moctar, the acclaimed Tuareg guitarist, has launched a GoFundMe to help him and his bandmates stay in the United States since military officers in his home country of Niger overthrew its leadership in a coup d’état last month.
Moctar, whose full name is Mahamadou Souleymane, and his Nigerien bandmates — Ahmoudou Madassane and Souleymane Ibrahim — had been touring the States at the time of the coup.
“At present, the band is stuck in the United States indefinitely,” one of the band’s managers, Dan Oestreich, wrote on the fundraiser’s page. “The costs associated with finding emergency housing and living expenses for the band while they are stuck here in the U.S. are considerable as well as undefined, as there is no timeframe for when peace may return to the region. As the band’s touring activity regularly supports their families at home in Niger, this extended stay in the U.S. will, unfortunately, divert that income away from their dependents.”
At the time of publication, the GoFundMe had raised more than $33,000 of its $50,000 goal. The money raised will go to “housing, food, healthcare, travel, and any other necessities.”
“We are so appreciative of our fans and community and their unending support and are so appreciative of whatever you are able to do to help us in this unprecedented and scary time,” the band said in an Instagram statement.
After a decade of early releases that won fans in West Africa and beyond, Mdou Moctar broke through to a wider U.S. audience in 2021 with the release of Afrique Victime, which combined psychedelic rock guitar solos with his region’s progressive tishoumaren (“desert blues”) flair.
In an interview with Rolling Stone that year, Moctar explained what motivated his music. “There’s been a tradition of revolutionary music in the Tuareg people: It’s always been a way to encourage our warriors, and a way to educate younger people about what it’s like to fight for your rights,” he said. “And then, of course, it’s been a way to bring pleasure and happiness amongst all Tuareg people, including women and children.”