April 10, 2011

Bombino | Agadez

ARTIST:  Bombino
TITLE:  Agadez
LABEL:  Cumbancha Discovery
REVIEW:  Goumour Almoctar, aka Bombino, is a 30-year-old guitarist from Niger who is staking a leadership claim in the next generation of Imazighen (Toureg) desert blues musicians.  Like Tinariwen, the legendary Malian band, Bombino’s music evokes American blues with a decided North African modality, and his guitar playing will put you in mind of the great six-string wizards of Mississippi, Chicago and London.  On this record, Bombino is more a singer-songwriter than a rocker – most of the material is pretty quiet, and the core band is simply two guitars (frequently acoustic) plus drums.  But for my money, the best track here is the 9-minute-long Iyat Idounia Ayasahen (track 7) with its stem-winding guitar solo.  Even the mellow material has an intensity that’s rarely heard in Western pop music – I guess that shouldn’t be surprising coming from a man whose adulthood has overlapped with the Toureg civil war and two of whose bandmates were executed by the Niger army in 2007.  A fine studio debut, and I’m hoping for many more from Bombino.
REVIEWER:  Bill Lupoletti
TOP TRACKS:    2    3    7
ALSO RECOMMENDED:   4    6    9

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