Arts + Culture

Bombino's Tuareg Guide to Touring the U.S.

Bombino brings us his guide to touring the U.S. as a Tuareg musician.

Our new City Guide series features our favorite artists dropping insider knowledge on the best spots to hit up in the places they know best. For our latest edition we took things on the road, enlisting the help of Niger's psychedelic nomad Bombino. Between recording earlier this year at Dan Auerbach's Nashville studio and becoming a step-inducing highlight of this summer's festival circuit, who better to ask for tips on navigating North America than the electric blues outlaw? Joined by bassist/manager Eric Herman (who also plays bass in Brooklyn's afro-gyspy-funk crew Mamarazzi), Bombino's Fender-wielding caravan drops its guide to touring the U.S. as a Tuareg musician.

Favorite Venue for Blues:

Bombino: Zombie Shop, Nashville

*Bombino at the Zombie Shop, Nashville. Photo by Diana Lee Zadlo.

Favorite Venue for Afrofunk:

Eric: Jackie O's, Athens, Ohio

Favorite set caught while on tour:

B: Gogol Bordello in Memphis.

E: Wood Brothers at Governor's Island.

Bluesiest City:

B: New Orleans.

E: New Orleans.

U.S. festival where the Festival au Désert spirit is most alive:

B: Globalquerque.

E: Burning Man.

Favorite North African dining experience:

B: A Tuareg restaurant in Montreal

Favorite Record Store:

B: Amoeba records, Berkeley, CA.

Best souvenir to take back to Niger:

B: A man gave me a beautiful silver bell yesterday. He said my music saved his life in the hospital and he wanted me to have it.

Favorite American Guitar to Play:

B: Cort and Fender guitars, for sure.

For more city guides read up on Alec Lomami's lowdown on Kinshasa and Christian Tiger School's favorite spots in Cape Town.

Interview

Sarkodie Is Not Feeling Any Pressure

The elite Ghanaian rapper affirms his king status with this seventh studio album, No Pressure.

Sarkodie is one of the most successful African rappers of all time. With over ten years of industry presence under his belt, there's no question about his prowess or skin in the game. Not only is he a pioneer of African hip-hop, he's also the most decorated African rapper, having received over 100 awards from close to 200 nominations over the span of his career.

What else does Sarkodie have to prove? For someone who has reached and stayed at the pinnacle of hip-hop for more than a decade, he's done it all. But despite that, he's still embracing new growth. One can tell just by listening to his latest album, No Pressure, Sarkodie's seventh studio album, and the follow-up to 2019's Black Love which brought us some of the Ghanaian star's best music so far. King Sark may be as big as it gets, but the scope of his music is still evolving.

Sonically, No Pressure is predominantly hip-hop, with the first ten tracks offering different blends of rap topped off with a handful of afrobeats and, finally, being crowned at the end with a gospel hip-hop cut featuring Ghanaian singer MOG. As far as the features go, Sark is known for collaborating mostly with his African peers but this time around he branches out further to feature a number of guests from around the world. Wale, Vic Mensa, and Giggs, the crème de la crème of rap in America and the UK respectively all make appearances, as well as Nigeria's Oxlade, South Africa's Cassper Nyovest, and his fellow Ghanaian artists Darkovibes and Kwesi Arthur.

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