Audio

Bombino & Black Keys' Dan Auerbach Make Desert Rock For The Modern Ear

We review Bombino's Nomad album featuring Black Keys guitarist/singer Dan Auerbach.


Not simply a collection of good tracks, Bombino's Nomad — the latest album from the  Niger guitarist — transplants its listeners to a wild journey into the depths of an 11-track Saharan desert. This is a musical desert barren of everything but life’s two essentials: psychedelics and soul. A tour guide through his compositions, the guitar-powered emotion transcends language as the principle form of direction on Bombino's Nomad. As such, it doesn't matter whether or not one speaks the Tuareg tongue of the maestro in order to wander inside his adventurous world.

On his 2011 debut album, Agadez, Bombino soothed listeners with his North African brand of coffee shop blues. This time around Bombino’s entrancing concoctions fuse with some good ol’ fashioned southern comfort. Black Keys guitarist/singer and Nomad producer Dan Auerbach's gritty bootprint propels Bombino’s guitar mastery into mind-altering psychedelia levels. Album opener “Amidinine” instantly throws listeners deep inside the frontier of its outlaw creators. A daydreamer’s paradise, Nomad continues teleporting listeners to faraway lands from thereafter.

Bombino’s is a style of guitar playing that has each note setting off little sparks in listeners’ heads. In between the thrills, there are moments of contentment and quenching calm. “Imidiwan” subdues souls with an oasis retreat, as if Bombino and crew have kicked back from the danger on horseback (or motorcycle) with some pool time and frozen drinks. The hopeful tone of closing track “Tamiditine” cools down with the mark of a journey successfully completed. Perhaps Nomad’s peril-to-positive storyline hints towards a desire for peaceful times in Bombino’s home region.

Buy Bombino's Nomad on iTunes, out now via Nonesuch Records.

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Watch Davido & Bombino Perform at Idris Elba's Wedding in Morocco

Elba personally requested performances from the Nigerian star and Tuareg desert rock guitarist.

Idris Elba tied the knot with his longtime girlfriend, Sabrina Dhowre, over the weekend in Marrakesh.

The couple exchanged vows on April 26 at the Ksar Char Bagh hotel. The celebrations were held over several days, as Vogue reports: "The celebrations have been spread out over three days. Friends and family attended a "colours of the Souk" themed dinner the night before the wedding at the Amanjena. On April 27, they... attend[ed] an all-white party at the Mandarin Oriental, which will emulate the atmosphere of a festival."

Other details have been coming out from the wedding, like the fact Sabrina Dhowre wore dresses by Vera Wang, while Elba wore a suit by British-Ghanaian designer Ozwald Boateng, and that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle sent over a piece of art as a gift to the newlyweds.

One detail that hasn't quite made the rounds is about the music—and the fact that Elba & Dhowre's wedding featured performances from none-other-than Nigerian star Davido and Tuareg desert rock guitarist Bombino.

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Bombino, the First Nigerien Artist to Be Nominated For a Grammy

The electrifying musician talks to OkayAfrica about wielding the Tuareg weapon of peace: a guitar.

Omara "Bombino" Moctar, 38, is the Nigerien guitarist who has recently been nominated for a grammy.

His electrifying, acoustic sound and Tamasheq lyrics that touch on his Tuareg heritage and connection with the desert have become a hit. His music is boundless. It is comprised of traditional Berber sounds, the blues, rock & roll and reggae. What is just as unique as the above is his story.

His people, the Tuareg, descendants of the Berbers of North Africa have long been nomads, traders and warriors within the Sahara Desert.

In his early years, Bombino grew up in an encampment in Agadez with his seventeen brothers and sisters and rebelliously refused to go to school. He would attend a French-Arabic school until the age of nine then leave and be taken in by his grandmother, who would instill in him Tuareg moral code.

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Photo by Lana Haroun

From #FeesMustFall to #BlueforSudan: OkayAfrica's Guide to a Decade of African Hashtag Activism

The 2010s saw protest movements across the continent embrace social media in their quest to make change.

The Internet and its persistent, attention-seeking child, Social Media has changed the way we live, think and interact on a daily basis. But as this decade comes to a close, we want to highlight the ways in which people have merged digital technology, social media and ingenuity to fight for change using one of the world's newest and most potent devices—the hashtag.

What used to simply be the "pound sign," the beginning of a tic-tac-toe game or what you'd have to enter when interacting with an automated telephone service, the hashtag has become a vital aspect of the digital sphere operating with both form and function. What began in 2007 as a metadata tag used to categorize and group content on social media, the term 'hashtag' has now grown to refer to memes (#GeraraHere), movements (#AmINext), events (#InsertFriendsWeddingHere) and is often used in everyday conversation ("That situation was hashtag awkward").

The power of the hashtag in the mobility of people and ideas truly came to light during the #ArabSpring, which began one year into the new decade. As Tunisia kicked off a revolution against oppressive regimes that spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook played a crucial role in the development and progress of the movements. The hashtag, however, helped for activists, journalists and supporters of causes. It not only helped to source information quickly, but it also acted as a way to create a motto, a war cry, that could spread farther and faster than protestors own voices and faster than a broadcasted news cycle. As The Guardian wrote in 2016, "At times during 2011, the term Arab Spring became interchangeable with 'Twitter uprising' or 'Facebook revolution,' as global media tried to make sense of what was going on."

From there, the hashtag grew to be omnipresent in modern society. It has given us global news, as well as strong comedic relief and continues to play a crucial role in our lives. As the decade comes to a close, here are some of the most impactful hashtags from Africans and for Africans that used the medium well.

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Screenshot from the upcoming film Warriors of a Beautiful Game

In Conversation: Pelé's Daughter is Making a Documentary About Women's Soccer Around the World

In this exclusive interview, Kely Nascimento-DeLuca shares the story behind filming Warriors of a Beautiful Game in Tanzania, Brazil and other countries.

It may surprise you to know that women's soccer was illegal in Brazil until 1981. And in the UK until 1971. And in Germany until 1970. You may have read that Sudan made its first-ever women's league earlier this year. Whatever the case, women and soccer have always had a rocky relationship.

It wasn't what women wanted. It certainly wasn't what they needed. However, society had its own ideas and placed obstacle after obstacle in front of women to keep ladies from playing the game. Just this year the US national team has shown the world that women can be international champions in the sport and not get paid fairly compared to their male counterparts who lose.

Kely Nascimento-DeLuca is looking to change that. As the daughter of international soccer legend Pelé, she is no stranger to the game. Growing up surrounded by the sport, she was actually unaware of the experiences women around the world were having with it. It was only recently that she discovered the hardships around women in soccer and how much it mirrored women's rights more generally.

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