Bombino, star of the African desert, hits Nashville
Third album, Nomad
After a childhood of exile and rebellion, Bombino is taking the Tuareg tradition forwards armed with his hypnotic guitar. With two albums already under his belt and slice of global fame to his name, the artist recorded his new collection in Nashville at the studios of the indie rock star, Dan Auerback from the Black Keys.
His travels to the USA, Mali, Niger and Libya make Bombino a hard man to get hold of. When his mobile phone finally rings, the sun is already burning down on the sands in Niamey. The young guitarist ends up pulling in his motorbike to finish his conversation with the United Sates. Although it isn’t his faithful Yamaha that features on the cover of his new CD, the image of him racing through the dunes on his bike is catching on as the new symbol of a nomadic rocker. Nomad is in fact the title of Bombino’s latest album.
His previous opus was named after a town, Agadez, which used to be a crossroads of Tuareg traditions. “I wanted to pay tribute to a town in which I was happy, even though I’ve always felt like a nomad and I travel constantly,” said the prodigious guitarist who grew up in Niger, Algeria and Burkina Faso. “This new album is also the fruit of an adventure and a reminder that the word nomad carries an idea of freedom and mystery, like American rock.” The CD was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, in an oasis in the land of country music – a studio belonging to Dan Auerbach, one half of the best-selling indie rock group The Black Keys.
A love of sound
Won over by Bombino’s raw guitar playing and unique energy, Auerbach was keen to produce his music. He even ended up joining in on a few tracks, drawn in by the spontaneous, uncalculated magnetism of the four Tuareg musicans that turned up at his place. Their partnership sounds completely natural, with an electric edge, some superb tunes and subtle production work. “Dan likes a simple sound and old amplifiers. In his studio you can play without headphones, listen and feel your friends by your side. It makes you totally at ease. In fact, Nashville isn’t so different from our desert when it comes to the freedom and the heat!” said the young guitarist, who’s a fan of Dire Straits, Bob Marley and John Lee Hooker.
"We listened to a lot of rock and blues in the desert because people love that way of expressing yourself with a guitar,”added Bombino, who exchanged his legendary Fendher for a 1976 vintage guitar for the recording.
Bombino Nomad (Nonesuch Records) 2013
Bombino in concert at La Flèche d'Or April 18, 2013