Entrance (a.k.a. Guy Blakeslee) just released the great Promises EP and is gearing up for a full-length early next year via Thrill Jockey. In the meantime, he’ll be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Readers, you’re in for some really good stuff.
Blakeslee: Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai is the Tuareg name for this film, which is an original re-imagining of Prince’s Purple Rain set among the Tuareg people of Niger and starring young Saharan guitar master Mdou Moctar. The evocative title stems from the interesting fact that the Tamashek language of the Tuareg nomads doesn’t have a word for “purple”!! This movie has it all! It’s an archetypal hero’s journey in which a traveling outsider guitar player overcomes many obstacles to gain the admiration of the people of the desert and win the love of a beautiful woman. It looks amazing, all of the music is brilliant, and it gives people outside of the Sahara a rare and reverent view into a world that is alive and thriving, and so different from our own. I’ve long been a fan of Tuareg guitar music, such as Tinariwen from Mali and Bombino from Niger. It’s a hypnotic antecedent to the blues that has re-absorbed the influences of Hendrix and evolved into a vibrant genre that sounds as futuristic as it does ancient. Mdou Moctar’s powerful electric style builds upon this tradition with a youthful adventurous spirit and a wise poetic sensibility. A striking figure, he carries the film, which he co-wrote with director Christopher Kirkley, so effortlessly and embodies the romance and solitude of the city of Agadez, a desert outpost of ramshackle dwellings where guitarists are the rebel heroes of the community and the people trade music on memory cards from their cell phones.