The language is Tuareg's one, the Tamashek. The sound is warm, sandy and engaging. The audience enthusiastically indulges in that magical, mysterious, exotic, yet very familiar melody. It takes off shy with an acoustic debut where the ancestral bass drum of the calabash acts as a counterpoint to the virtuosity of the classical guitar, to take flight in a second electric and vigorous part. A sonic ride from Ali Farka Toure to Jimi Hendrix.
Star of the desert blues, Goumar Almoctar, known as Bombino, was born and raised in Niger, in Agadez, in the north of Africa, in the Tuareg Ifoghas tribe, which has been fighting for centuries against colonialism and the strictest Islamic imposition. Forced to flee several times with his family, during a visit the relatives forget a guitar that little Bombino keeps for himself, starting to practice. He became a pupil of the famous Tuareg guitarist Haia Bebe and soon after he joined his band, acquiring the nickname of Bombino, a distortion of the Italian 'bambino' [child]. He begins to be passionate about Jimi Hendrix and Mark Knofler, whose techniques he studies during the pastures between Algeria and Libya. Back in Niger, Bombino embarks on a full-time career as a musician and his talent does not go unnoticed. In 2009, a chance encounter with director Ron Wyman changes his fate. But it is only a year later that Wyman manages to track down Bombino, in the meantime forced to flee to Burkina Faso following the murder of two members of his band, killed in a riot. Wyman dedicates a large part of his documentary on the Tuareg tribes to Bombino and becomes the producer of Agadez, the solo debut on disc (the first album dates back to 2009, Group Bombino - Guitars from Agadez, vol. 2).
In the meantime, the fame of the young talent grows until he is known all over the world and plays in the most important music festivals, with prestigious collaborations, including that with Keith Richards. Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys) meets Bombino and is thunderstruck, thus deciding to produce Nomad, the third album released worldwide in April 2013 on the Nonesuch / Warner label. Recorded in Auerbach's studio in Nashville, Nomad is the encounter of desert-rock with blues, played by the skilled hands of Bombino and enriched by his intense and vigorous voice.
Bombino's sounds are reminiscent of those of Tinariwen, nearby desert players, but his electrifying melodies, which contain the spirit of resistance and rebellion, exude an irresistible groove. A dense and magmatic version of the blues, to which is added the particularity of breaking free from the classic metric based on the 'call and response' between lead singer and choir (usually female), replacing the latter with the melodic disgressions of the guitar. Desert-rock composer and guitarist, Bombino harks back to the typical sounds of the 60s and 70s, from Jimi Hendrix to Jimmy Page, inserting them in an American rock-blues context enriched by vocalisms in Tamasheq, the Tuareg language.
In Italy, the sound of Bombino has conquered everyone, from Fabio Fazio who wanted him to be a guest at 'Che tempo che Fa' to Jovanotti who, fascinated by his story, involved him in the production of his latest album, in fact Si alza il vento is born, fruit of the collaboration between the Tuscan artist and the Tuareg guitarist. A concert in which to share the freshness of rock and its deep desire for peace and freedom.
His penultimate album, Azel, was recorded in Woodstock in October 2015 and was released in early April 2016 on US label Partisan Records. Fans of Bombino and Tuareg music in general will notice several innovations in the tracks on this record. The first is the introduction of a new style of which Bombino is a pioneer and which he affectionately calls Tuareggae, a union between the blues / rock Tuareg with the raggae one drop style. Another is the use for the first time of Western vocal harmonies within pieces of Tuareg music, which give the songs new intensity. Finally his band is more energetic and united than ever. The result of all these elements is his revolutionary album: Azel.
Released by Partisan Records on May 18th and produced by its longtime manager Eric Herman, Deran, translated as 'best wishes', is Bombino's most direct and engaging album, and carries with it a message of hope and good wishes for a world who is experiencing a period of great pain and turmoil. Written and sung entirely in Bombino's mother tongue, Tamasheq, Deran was recorded in ten days in Casablanca, in the studio of Moroccan King Mohammed VI. This is Bombino's first album made in Africa in almost ten years. Bombino said: ... the goal of this album has always been to bring me closer to Africa. The ten tracks on the album show Bombino's great ability to work in different genres, from folk to rock, passing through blues and funk and of course the subgenre Tuareggae, of which he is a pioneer and precursor. Also thanks to his band's deep involvement in arrangements and creative decisions (with Youba Dia on bass, Illias Mohamed on rhythm guitar, Corey Wilhelm on drums and Mohamed Araki Eltayeb on keyboards), Deran is certainly the most mature and complete album of the his career to date. In recent years, Bombino has become a world-acclaimed artist and has collaborated with numerous artists and admirers such as Stevie Wonder, Keith Richards, Robert Plant, Dave Longstreth, Dan Auerbach and many more. He attended the Bonnaroo and the Newport Folk Festival, praised by Pitchfork as being authentic and ambitious.
Adriano Viterbini is guitarist and founder of I Hate My Village and Bud Spencer Blues Explosion, author of two solo albums (Goldfoil of 2013 and Film O Sound of 2015), highly appreciated sessionman in studio and live, is sought after for his strong and multifaceted personality from artists such as Rokia Traorè, Niccolò Fabi, Daniele Silvestri, Max Gazze and Nic Cester.