Welcome to Madelaine’s Music Mondays, soon to be one of your favorite WEND Magazine blog features. Today, I’d love to share with you one of my favorite world artists — Tuaregian guitar sensation Bombino.
Born in 1980 in the Nigerian town of Agadez, Bombino grew up during an era of armed revolution against violent government suppression. At the onset of the 1990 Tuareg Rebellion Bombino was forced to flee his home country into neighboring Algeria, where he spent most of his teenage years until his return to Niger in 1997. Once home, he began working as a professional musician, an occupation which he enjoyed until growing tensions in Niger erupted into another Tuaregian Rebellion in 2007. The government, in an attempt to stifle all rebellion energies, banned guitar ownership and use from the Tuareg people. Bombino lost two of his bandmates to government execution before he was forced into exile in Burkina Faso. While there, filmmaker Ron Wyman who had heard some of Bombino’s recordings via cassette, tracked down Bombino and convinced him to properly record an album of his work (and also created a documentary film on the struggles of the Tuaregian people in North Africa, titled Agadez, the Music and the Rebellion). Wyman and Bombino collaborated to produce Agadez, Bombino’s first LP, and a magical album of musical beauty and truth. Bombino’s music and lyrics are about love, life, and living free in the face of forces who seek to deny one otherwise.
At my discovery of his music, Bombino captured my heart — first of all with his musical talent, and secondly, with his story. In our modern era of consumerism, music has fallen under commodity label alongside almost … well, everything else. As a musician myself, it’s hard to not get caught up into the world of creating and producing music that will Sell, Sell, Sell. Bombino, however, is making music for all the right and real reasons, leading his country and his suppressed people into a new era of hope, light and freedom against former suppression.
Bombino’s sophmore album was produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, and is due for release in early 2013.