The Nigerien and British bands’ respective drummers Souleymane Ibrahim and Morgan Simpson met up for a jam in Chicago. Rough Trade Records recorded this happy encounter.
In September 2022, Chicago’s Electrical Audio studios became the stopover between Niger and the UK, as Mdou Moctar and black midi’s respective drummers met up for an impromptu jamming session. Bringing his modern Tuareg rock from the desert city of Agadez was Souleymane Ibrahim. Joining the iconic Nigerien guitarist Mdou Moctar as his third band in 2019, Ibrahim became the youngest member. His fierce drumming took the group’s sound to new heights on their 2021 album Afrique Victime. Flaunting an experimental, deeply inspired, London progressive rock was black midi’s Morgan Simpson. Central elements of the band’s distinct sound, Morgan’s influences and risky approach to drumming are an essential part of the trio’s 2022 critically acclaimed album Hellfire.
Rough Trade Records taped this first successful connection, as the two instrumentalists found affinities in their sounds, their unflagging energy, and their love for fast-paced rhythms after admiring each other’s music for years. They harmonized to Mdou Moctar’s “Chismiten” and black midi’s “Sugar/Tzu”, and even sparked the idea of a collaborative show. In the meantime, catch the full experience above, and enjoy Mdou Moctar’s newest release Niger EP Vol.2 and black midi’s Live Fire, a live recording of their latest opus available on vinyl via Rough Trade Records.