"Purple" Rain

03/12/2015A Tuareg Remake Of Prince's Iconic Rock Opera

As recently reported in the Guardian, the Saharan state of Niger, famous for its Tuareg community and bringing forth world-renowned "desert blues" artists the likes of Bombino, Terakraft and Tinariwen, has now produced a crowdfunded film, based on Prince's 1984 cult classic "Purple Rain".

While Prince is not widely known in West Africa, "the electric guitar has become synonymous with Tuareg culture" and the story of a kid trying to escape his violent life and make it big in the world of music seemingly struck a chord with the locals.

“We realised if we took the original story and modified it, the remake would reflect the lives of every guitarist in the Tuareg community,” said Christopher Kirkley, an American world music afficionado, who directed and co-wrote the remake and has been running the Sahel Sounds record label since 2009.

Seeing as there is no Tuareg word for purple, the film's title is "Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai", which translates to 'Rain the Colour of Blue With a Little Red in It'. Based in Agadez, the film stars popular self-taught musician Mdou Moctar as he rides his purple motorbike from performance to performance and was shot entirely in the Tuareg language.

“The first screening was in Niger,” said Kirkley. “A lot of the dialogue was missed because it was a raucous crowd, everyone was cheering when they saw someone they knew on the screen.”

Find the digital/vinyl soundtrack here and see the trailer below:

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom