Bombino is Da Bomb!!!
This was not the first time I’d seen Bombino. Early last year, I saw him at Johnny D’s which was a fabulous venue for him, and last summer I caught a few numbers from his set at Newport Folk Festival. He just gets better and better, and I sense he’s becoming more comfortable in his role as an international ambassador of desert blues music. I will see him any time he’s in the area!
Opening the show was Billy Wylder. I had never heard of this band and really enjoyed their music. Avi Salloway is the lead singer and guitarist; he met one of the members of Bombino while living in Tel Aviv and is now touring with Bombino (and apparently acting as tour manager).
The music blends desert blues with Americana and folk. I liked it quite a bit and I look forward to seeing them perform again. Hopefully next time I see them I’ll be familiar with their music.
After a short break, Bombino took the stage. Omara “Bombino” Moctar began the set sitting in a chair, playing an acoustic guitar. Upon seeing him seated, my initial thought was that it was going to be a low-key show; that would have been fine because he’s extremely talented, but it wouldn’t have been the Bombino show I was expecting to see.
After four or five songs on the acoustic guitar with the other guitarist also seated but playing a djembe and the drummer playing the calabash, they rose and traded their acoustic instruments for electric guitars and a drum kit, respectively. Then the music exploded and the crowd started moving!
Admittedly, I love desert blues. The genre is still not well known in the US, but artists like Bombino are doing their best to make sure more people are exposed to it. They also make the world more aware of the plight of the Tuareg musicians, and musicians in general in the Sahara.
They played songs from both albums, Agadez and Nomad (which was released earlier this year). Both are fabulous albums showcasing his trance-like guitar riffs. He sings mostly and maybe exclusively in Tamasheq, a language that most if not all of the audience did not understand.
Bombino apologizes for the language barrier. He doesn’t need to do that. His audiences understand the language of music as well as the language of love he puts into every performance. When he touches his hand to his heart and says ‘merci’, that comes from deep within him.
His performances are magical – go see him in small venues while you have the chance!
Posted on December 4, 2013, in concert reviews, music, Uncategorized and tagged Agadez, Billy Wylder, Bombino, boston, concert, Desert Blues, music, Nomad, Sinclair Cambridge, Tamasheq, Tuareg. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.