Stranded in the U.S. after tour, Mdou Moctar launches GoFundMe - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
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Tuareg rock group Mdou Moctar has launched a GoFundMe campaign after being stranded in America. On July 26, their home country of Niger announced that borders both in and out of the nation had been closed following the overthrow of their democratically-elected President Mohamed Bazoum by a right-wing militant group. The current state of the nation is precarious at best, with foreign nationals having left the country on emergency flights in fear of imminent civil war.

At the time of the coup, Mahamadou Souleymane, Ahmoudou Madassane, and Souleymane Ibrahim, the three Nigerien members of Mdou Moctar, were on the road in North America with bassist Michael Colton and had just wrapped up a successful tour. The band performed at this year’s Newport Folk Festival, NYC’s Summer Stage, and played a sold-out show at Ardmore Music Hall this past July.

Via the band’s GoFundMe, “At present, the band is stuck in the United States indefinitely. The costs associated with finding emergency housing and living expenses for the band while they are stuck here in the US 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 US will, unfortunately, divert that income away from their dependents.”

The page has already surpassed its original goal of $25,000 and currently sits at over $95k thanks to the support of fans and contemporary artists alike. Notably, White Stripes guitarist and singer Jack White donated $10,000 to aid the group’s dire situation. Mdou further explains where these donations are being allocated saying , “This GoFundMe campaign is being set up to help provide them with what they will need to be able to safely spend time in the States while they wait and see when they will be able to return home to Niger to reunite with their loved ones. Any donations will be used directly to secure housing, food, healthcare, travel, and any other necessities in America that will be needed while they navigate this unexpected and unprecedented time.”

The band’s last album, 2021’s Afrique Victime, highlighted the breadth of issues that impact much of their home continent; a doc that accompanied the album elaborates on these topics through the lens of the Tuareg rock community. Lead singer Mahamadou “Mdou Moctar” Souleymane uses his music as a remedy to these problems, spreading a message of peace and love while advocating for a more fair and equal Africa.

All donations over the initial goal are being sent to the group’s extended family in Niger as they try to lift up their communities and stay safe in the face of impending violence. Donate to the GoFundMe here, read more about their recent performance at Ardmore Music Hall here, and watch the Afrique Victime doc below.

Mdou Moctar: Afrique Victime
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