Bombino: Emissary for the Music of the Tuareg People

Bombino: Emissary for the Music of the Tuareg People


As a local DJ on KOTO-fm I play the latest in contemporary jazz and world music.  One of the CD’s that been on my playlist for the past several month’s is Bombino’s “Nomad.”  It has a fresh sound and an energy that is truly special.

Even though Bombino will be playing during Saturday afternoon’s beer tasting brewathon… I expect that for many, Bombino’s performance will be one of the highlights of the 2014 Telluride Blues & Brews Festival.

Here’s several excerpts from an article that I found that does a nice job of giving you the amazing background of this talented musician.

In a story too far-fetched for a Hollywood script, Tuareg singer-songwriter and guitarist Omara “Bombino” Moctar survived life on the run as a desert fugitive, only to emerge four years later as a globe-trotting world music star.

Hailing from the city of Agadez in northern Niger, an important outpost on the ancient trans-Saharan trade routes, Moctar, who performs as Bombino, fled his homeland when his incantatory music in support of the 2007 Tuareg uprising brought down the government’s wrath, which led to the death of two band members. He’s still marveling at the twist of fate that led to last year’s breakout album, “Nomad,” a hard-edged pentatonic desert blues session produced by the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach that debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard and iTunes world charts.

“I had never even been in a real recording studio before. Imagine that!” says Bombino, 34.  “There were no limits. We could do whatever we wanted at any time, so it was like a dream.”

While some of his guitar-slinging Tuareg brethren have attained international status — particularly Mali’s Tinariwen and Niger’s Etran Finatawa — Bombino was concentrating more on survival than on his career in the wake of the uprising. Cooling his heels as an exile in nearby Burkina Faso, Bombino got his big break when Boston filmmaker Ron Wyman came across a homemade cassette of his hypnotic music while driving across the Sahara for a documentary about Tuareg cultural identity. Wyman tracked him down and, with the rebellion over, they traveled back to Niger, where the filmmaker produced the acclaimed 2011 album “Agadez.”

Championed by heavyweights like Stevie Wonder and Keith Richards, Bombino is now performing all over the world, soaking up new sounds.

Check out this video for a preview of what Bombino has in store for Telluride!

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