After watching a clip of Omara “Bombino” Moctar playing in front of an enthusiastic crowd of a thousand people in his native African country of Niger, Black Keys’ guitarist Dan Auerbach invited the artist and his band to his Nashville studios, halfway around the world, to record what would become Nomad. Before 2009 though, Bombino was little known outside Saharan Africa, where his career consisted of regionally available cassettes and roles in local bands. In the last few years, he has begun to find a following abroad. He has garnered the praise of outlets ranging from Pitchfork to NPR. Though he’d studied the music of American and British classic rock artists while growing up, Bombino had not listened to—or even heard of—The Black Keys until his manager played the duo’s music for him. But he was intrigued and flattered by Auerbach’s interest and the chance to work in his Nashville studio: “It felt as though I was being bestowed with the title of an African minister of musical culture, being picked to work with Dan. It was the first time I was able to work in a big studio like that, with proper gear and a great sound engineer. It was a really new experience, with all that sophistication in the studio. This was really, really big.”
The BBC has said, “[Bombino’s music] holds hidden power beneath its deceptive simplicity, with many a tune devolving into blistering guitar jams, following chanted vocals about the struggle for unity and self-determination, as well as the longing that love brings, and the difficulties facing a life of shepherd’s solitude.” With the release of Nomad, Bombino has achieved musically what he desires for his people – to continue moving their country forward while preserving the integrity of their culture.
RIYL: Tinariwen, The Black Keys, Sublime Frequencies, Jimi Hendrix
Recommended Tracks: Track #3 “Azamane Tiliade” & track #1 “Amidinine”
Going for Adds 4/8 & 4/9