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27 Sep 2016

Bombino “Azel” 2016 Desert Blues, Folk, World

Bombino “Azel” 2016  Desert Blues, Folk, World,folk fusion,ethno, ….recommended..
~ 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die ~ 
The contemporary music of Taureg is impossible to separate from the historic and political struggles of the people who not only made the songs, but those it was made for. Bombino, one of Taureg’s more recent acts to attract international recognition, has experienced this first hand, witnessing the Niger government’s 2007 attempt to outlaw music (and the guitar in particular) to quash any chance of rebellion along with the execution of fellow musicians.

Yet Bombino never turned his back on the instrument that gave his people hope and as a result terrified a government. This rebellious spirit has been consistent throughout his music with his lyrics directly addressing the struggle of his people. Much like the music of fellow Taureg band Tinariwen, Bombino’s music draws heavily from traditional Taureg music styles with call-and-response vocals and handclaps incorporated into the percussion to exemplify the sense of community and belonging that the music evokes. Bombino once remarked that he didn’t see the guitar as a weapon, but rather a tool to uplift a community and build a better future.

Perhaps this is why, despite the struggles of the Taureg people’s past, there is a jubilant optimism to Bombino’s music. His style of playing - which he dubs “Taureggae” - brings an infectious, danceable groove that seems to be as much influenced by funk as it is by western rock acts like Jimi Hendrix. This, combined by the percussive thrust of the music makes something that begs the listener to move, to get up and free themselves. Three albums in, and several world tours under his belt, Bombino’s music remains as powerful and vital as the day he first picked up a guitar… Robert Whitfield ……
Produced by Dirty Projectors leader Dave Longstreth, the virtuosic Saharan guitarist Bombino’s latest album features a sublime iteration of desert blues that’s both authentic and ambitious.
While interviewing Dirty Projectors for a profile in 2009—on the cusp of the release of Bitte Orca and their Malian guitar-meets-Mariah hit “Stillness Is the Move”—band leader Dave Longstreth enthused over a Saharan guitarist on the Sublime Frequencies label who went by the nameBombino. In the last six years, the Tuareg artist has continued to make inroads in the West, touring and recording Stateside, and his 2013 album Nomad found him in the studio with the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach. And now, Longstreth’s early admiration has come full circle, as he was tapped to record Bombino’s latest, Azel, in upstate New York. The resulting record presents the guitarist in a lucid, unadorned light. There’s no need to add too much to Bombino’s desert blues—his unassuming and astonishing playing speaks volumes on its own. Seeing him live, his left hand is deceptively fast, flicking off the strings and lighting upon extra notes that other players can’t quite hit. Much like fellow Tichumaren players Tinariwen, Bombino’s acumen blends techniques derived from ngoni (a traditional lute), the imzad (a one-stringed bow instrument), and the amplified guitar of Hendrix and Santana.Azel isn’t so different from his unofficial first album for Sublime Frequencies, 2009’s Guitars From Agadez Vol. 2, which was recorded in his home country of Niger and intimate enough to capture the sounds of camels on one side and ragged stomping on the other. His gentleness comes through on “Igmayagh Dum (My Lover),” built from handclaps, thumped guitar body, and a nimble melody, with Bombino’s lines of love—sung in Tamasheq—delivered in a gentle purr. Meanwhile, his electric guitar prickles and the drums careen on “Timidiwa (Friendship).” There is one new wrinkle, though: a kind of fusion with reggae. That might sound corny on paper, but Bombino and his group keep it all low-key, and the sounds soon assimilate. Album centerpiece “Iyat Ninhay / Jaguar (A Great Desert I Saw)” is driven by a lilting bassline that leads into an incandescent solo from Bombino as trilling zaghrouta voices punctuate the ecstasy of the moment.But for all the guitar pyrotechnics, Western production, and reggae infusions, Azel never sounds like anything other than a sublime iteration of desert blues. Bombino has not pivoted towards Western music, as he still sings about the issues of his homeland in his native tongue. Hushed closer “Naqqim Dagh Timshar (We Are Left in This Abandoned Place)” tells of the plight of his people with a lines that translate to: “We sit in an abandoned place/ Everyone has left us/ The world has evolved/ And we’ve been abandoned.” Even with Bombino increasingly gaining exposure in America, lyrics like those remind us that his music continually speaks for those that would otherwise be unheard back home…  Pitchfork…..  
At this point, Bombino — a.k.a. Omara Moctar, a Tuareg guitarist and singer-songwriter from northern Niger — is an old hand on the international scene. It was more than a decade ago that cassettes of his music circulated in the Tuareg communities clustered around the Sahara Desert. Ten years ago, he traveled to the U.S. to record a session (with The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards and Charlie Watts, no less) and then start touring these shores as a sideman with a Tuareg band. But his career in the U.S. and Europe as a solo artist has been in full force for a while now; it was five years ago that NPR Music presented him in a full concert from New York’s (Le) Poisson Rouge.

Over that time, Bombino has more than found his groove, perfectly balanced between mastery and ease. Out of a well-documented generation of talented Tuareg rockers, he’s emerged as the most virtuosic and melodically innovative, as he’s layered his voice over sparkling guitar riffs. He hasn’t uprooted himself: He continues to sing in his native Tamashek about Tuareg issues, and in his tunes you can still hear the feedback loop between West African sounds and music of the Americas, from rock, blues and R&B to Caribbean dancehall and reggae.

But he’s also found room for experimentation over the course of three studio albums, from his first solo project, 2011’s Agadez, to the buzzed-out garage vibe of 2013’s Nomad, produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. Now comes Azel, with Dave Longstreth of Dirty Projectors as producer; according to Bombino, Longstreth let him take the sonic lead, which was apparently not so much the case with Auerbach.

On Azel, the details of Bombino’s extraordinary guitar playing come back into sharp focus — and that’s this album’s greatest pleasure, track to track. Other experiments emerge, too: Bombino and Longstreth intercut the loping rhythms of Tamashek tradition with the one-drop of reggae in “Timtar” (Memories). (Lest that seem strange: Bob Marley has been as much a hero among generations of Tuareg musicians as Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan and Dire Straits.)

But it’s in songs like the lilting “Naqqim Dagh Timshar” (We Are Left In This Abandoned Place) that Bombino’s artistry is on its brightest display. (Having spent a bit of time in the Sahara with Tuareg musicians from across their diaspora, I can say that that sort of slow burn feels exactly right.) The guitar is front-and-center. Bombino sings with passion, in that signature honey-and-sand voice, about the currents of Tuareg identity and politics, as well as his people’s precarious position at this very moment: “Everyone has left us / The world has evolved / And we’ve been abandoned,” he sings. “The whole world has evolved / Why haven’t we?”

Bombino may be prodding others there, because no one can say that he’s content to rest with his prodigious gifts. Musically, he’s always moving on to some new destination….by Anastasia Tsioulcas….. 
Tracks List:
1. Akhar Zaman (3:51)
2. Iwaranagh (4:59)
3. Inar (3:46)
4. Tamiditine Tarhanam (4:03)
5. Timtar (4:53)
6. Iyat Ninhay / Jaguar (6:07)
7. Igmayagh Dum (5:45)
8. Ashuhada (3:24)
9. Timidiwa (4:21)
10. Naqqim Dagh Timshar (5:39) 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..