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Bombino Announces New Album, 'Azel,' Produced By Dirty Projectors’ David Longstreth

Bombino will make his Partisan Records debut with a new "Tuareggae" album produced by Dirty Projectors' David Longstreth.

Bombino's next album, Azel, is due out April 1 on Partisan Records.


Bombino’s Dan Auerbach-produced Nomad will go down as one of our all-time favorite albums at Okayafrica. That was back in 2013. And although the Tuareg guitarist has been on the road pretty nonstop since then, it’s been some time since we’ve seen a Bombino release. Fortunately, we won’t be waiting too much longer.

In April, Bombino will make his Partisan Records debut with a new ten-track LP recorded over the course of ten days at Applehead Recording in Woodstock, New York, and produced by Dirty ProjectorsDavid Longstreth.

According to Partisan, Azel will signal a new direction for the guitarist, notably with the introduction of a sound Bombino’s termed Tuareggae–”a sunny blend of Tuareg blues/rock with reggae one-drop and bounce,” and the “first-ever use of Western vocal harmonies in recorded Tuareg music.”

As the label explains:

The word “Azel” has three meanings in Bombino’s native Tamasheq language – first, it is the name of a small desert town just a few kilometers from where he grew up, in Agadez, Niger. His wife’s family is from Azel, and it is the site of the first and only Tuareg school in the country. Bombino has long held aspirations of developing a Tuareg community center and arts school in Agadez, so the town of Azel holds a special place in his heart. Second, the word azel means the roots or stems of a tree. This album is a reflection of Bombino’s unique place in Tuareg music where he at once honors the traditional roots of the music while also taking it into brand new territory, hence the roots and the stems. Finally, the word azel is also slang in Tamasheq, loosely the equivalent of ‘That’s my jam!’ in American English. The significance of that meaning should be instantly obvious to anyone who listens to this album.

Watch an in-studio video for the Azel track "Inar" filmed at Applehead Recording.

Azel is due out April 1 on Partisan Records. Bombino begins a full North American headlining tour in March, which includes a stop at SXSW. Check out the full album tracklist and list of dates below.

Azel Track Listing:

1. Akhar Zaman (This Moment)

2. Iwaranagh (We Must)

3. Inar (If You Know The Degree Of My Love For You)

4. Tamiditine Tarhanam (My Love, I Tell You)

5. Timtar (Memories)

6. Iyat Ninhay / Jaguar (A Great Desert I Saw)

7. Igmayagh Dum (My Lover)

8. Ashuhada (Martyrs Of The First Rebellion)

9. Timidiwa (Friendship)

10. Naqqim Dagh Timshar (We Are Left In This Abandoned Place)

Bombino’s Upcoming Shows:

3/22/2016 – Toronto, ONT – Horseshoe Tavern

3/23/2016 – Montréal, QC – Centre Phi

3/24/2016 – Burlington, VT – ArtsRiot

3/25/2016 – Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair

3/26/2016 – New York, NY – Africa Now at The Apollo

3/29/2016 – Philadelphia, PA – World Cafe Live

3/30/2016 – Washington, DC – The Hamilton

3/31/2016 – Athens, GA – Slingshot Festival

4/1/2016 – Knoxville, TN – Big Ears Festival

4/2/2016 – Nashville, TN – Exit/In

4/3/2016 – Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel

4/5/2016 – Indianapolis, IN – The Hifi

4/6/2016 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom

4/7/2016 – Milwaukee, WI – Turner Hall – supporting Galactic

4/8/2016 – Chicago, IL – House of Blues – supporting Galactic

4/9/2016 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue – supporting Galactic

4/11/2016 – Louisville, KY – The New Vintage

4/12/2016 – St Louis, MO – Old Rock House

4/13/2016 – Lawrence, KS – Granada

4/15/2016 – Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater

4/16/2016 – Aspen, CO – Belly Up

4/17/2016 – Salt Lake City, UT – The State Room

4/20/2016 – Solana Beach, CA – Belly Up Tavern

4/21/2016 – Los Angeles, CA – Teragram Ballroom

4/22/2016 – Oakland, CA – New Parish

4/23/2016 – San Francisco, CA – The Independent

4/24/2016 – Santa Cruz, CA – Kuumbwa Center

4/27/2016 – Grass Valley, CA – Center for the Arts

4/28/2016 – Portland, OR – Star Theater

4/29/2016 – Seattle, WA – Crocodile Cafe

4/30/2016 – Vancouver, BC – Imperial Theatre

Watch Bombino perform a stripped-down rendition of “Imidiwan live at Central Park for Okayafrica’s Okay Acoustic series.

"SA Rappers Out Here Killing Y'all," M.I Abaga On Nigerian Rappers

M.I has fueled a debate about the state Nigerian hip-hop with his latest song, "You Rappers Should Fix Up Your Life."

Nigerian star M.I Abaga is back with a punch and taking aim at all of his fellow Nigerian rappers.

The track—which sees M.I. drop lines like "none of you rappers is real enough... that's why these fans are not feeling ya'll," "SA rappers out here killing ya,ll," and "rappers are singing now just to get popular, yuck"—has sparked a debate across social media on the current state of Nigerian hip-hop.

There's been some calling out M.I for not supporting young Nigerian rappers like big rappers do in South Africa. These years have seen the likes of Cassper Nyovest and other big SA stars supporting younger talent.

Others, however, have taken up the challenge and started responding to M.I's track over the "Fix Up Your Life" instrumental. M.I's been retweeting the responses and, in a way, the track's been getting a lot of the young rappers M.I calls out some more attention.

M.I and his label Chocolate City have also been in the news lately over suing Nas for not delivering a good verse.

What do you think? Is Nigerian hip-hop in decline?

See some choice tweets below.

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