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Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

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Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
Adam Steinhauer, Marketing Director • May 10, 2024
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Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
Adam Steinhauer, Marketing Director • May 10, 2024
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Eagle Spirit dancer Migizii Kwe dances with the audience at this years East Lansing Art Festival. Photo credit: Samantha Ku/WDBM
2024 East Lansing Art Festival Q&A
Samantha Ku, Writer/Volunteer • May 18, 2024

Heather Majano is the Art Festival & Arts Initiative Coordinator under the East Lansing Parks, Recreation & Arts department, she...

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Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
Adam Steinhauer, Marketing Director • May 10, 2024
View All
Eagle Spirit dancer Migizii Kwe dances with the audience at this years East Lansing Art Festival. Photo credit: Samantha Ku/WDBM
2024 East Lansing Art Festival Q&A
Samantha Ku, Writer/Volunteer • May 18, 2024

Heather Majano is the Art Festival & Arts Initiative Coordinator under the East Lansing Parks, Recreation & Arts department, she...

To Live Through Language | “Imouhar” by Mdou Moctar

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A snake digests its food slowly. It eats its prey whole, lets its stomach acid deal with the bones. No scraps are left behind. No trace. 

Tuareg singer and songwriter Mdou Moctar wishes to open the snake’s mouth and save this prey with not only his hand, but the hands of a full and united people. This prey, the Tamasheq language, springs forth beautifully from the tongues of many Tuareg people like Moctar, but Moctar believes the language is in great danger.

“People are just using French here,” Moctar said in a press statement. “They’re starting to forget their own language.”

This statement was released in conjunction with Moctar’s newest single, “Imouhar,” which is a plea to the Tuareg people to preserve and save Tamasheq. The Tuareg, who largely inhabit countries in the Sahara desert, are a minority in all those countries, and Tamasheq is a minority language as a result. 

“Imouhar,” which invokes fuzzy riffs descended from the likes of Jimi Hendrix, is a powerful call. There is such passion in its fiery climbs, such pride. One should be careful when calling a piece of music “important,” and I have rarely taken more care with this label.

“Imouhar” is important, and language is important. Our language defines us; it speaks to who we are and what nurtured us. Think of the foundational stories you were told, and think about how their meaning might change if translated into an alternate, domineering language. 

Translation can give you much of that story, but its heart will be slightly eroded. If that story were repeatedly passed down, and repeatedly drawn further and further from its original tongue, it could become a different story. 

“Imouhar” yearns to breathe more life into the Tamasheq story. It yearns to stop the snake’s digestion before it is too late. As writers and readers, we must support the diversity of language; we must preserve those words and rhythms which keep the world rich and varied. 

Yes, learn new languages and new words, but do not forget those which shaped you. 

“Imouhar” is the second single off the upcoming album Funeral for Justice, which releases May 3. 

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About the Contributor
Mike Merucci
Mike Merucci, Entertainment Editor/Host of The Afterglow
Mike Merucci (he/him) is a creative advertising major here at Michigan State, and with a Dr. Pepper always in hand, he leads the Impact's music journalism efforts. His musical loves are Death Grips, Tim Hecker and Carly Rae Jepsen; these loves only build up to his greatest love of all, the Buffalo Bills. "I'm smoking cigarettes in the shower, when they get wet I just light another." - Death Grips

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