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You Should Know Bombino

Coming to Milwaukee

When: Thursday, April 7 - Doors 7PM/Show 8PM
Where: Turner Hall Ballroom

The basics

Where they're from: Agadez, Niger
Their song 88Nine is playing: "Akhar Zaman"
RIYL: Sound Travels, Jimi Hendrix, ripping guitar solos

5 questions with Bombino

Bombino - a.k.a. Omara Moctar is an internationally acclaimed Tuareg guitarist and songwriter from Agadez, Niger. His new album "Azel" was released today via Partisan Records. Radio Milwaukee recently interviewed Bombino, with the assistance of a translator.

1. How did Bombino get started?

That's a very long story, going back to my childhood as a refugee in Algeria when I would watch videos of Jimi Hendrix and Ali Farka Toure and I fell in love with the guitar.  When I returned to Niger I became the soloist for the great Haja Bebe's band.  I was about fifteen while the rest of the band was more than thirty years old, which is how I got the nickname 'Bombino'.  Many years later I became a solo artist and eventually found some collaborators outside of Niger to produce my music and get it around the world.

2. Tell us something people would be surprised to know about you.

When I was about twenty-five I would lead tours in the north of Niger to earn my living.  One time, before I was known myself, I toured the north of Niger as the guide for Angelina Jolie.

3. How has your music changed with this new record?

My music is evolving, as it becomes more of a project of a collective than just one player.  For my first years in my solo career I did not have a consistent band and now I do.  I love these guys and we are creating something new together.

4. How does the geopolitical climate of Tuareg affect your music?

I do not think the political climate affects my music.  I hope that it is the opposite - that my music can affect the political climate, make people more aware and appreciative of the Tuareg people and unite people to experience joy together.

5. You have unique instrumentation. What instruments will you be touring the U.S. with?

We have two parts of the show - the electric part and the acoustic part.  For the electric part it is very basic - electric guitars, electric bass and drums.  For the acoustic part I play an acoustic guitar, then there is electric bass, djembe and calabash, which is the Tuareg traditional drum.

Listen to Bombino - "Akhar Zaman" below: