Omar Moctar Bombino

Last update: 24/04/2019
Born and raised in Niger, in and around the northern city of Agadez, Bombino is a member of the Tuareg Ifoghas tribe, a nomadic people descended from the Berbers of North Africa; for centuries they have fought against colonialism and the imposition of strict Islamic rules. The Tuareg people have fought the Niger government to secure their rights on numerous occasions, causing Bombino and his family to flee several times. During one such exile, relatives visiting from the front lines of the rebellion left behind a guitar and Bombino began teaching himself to play it. He eventually studied with the renowned Tuareg guitarist Haja Bebe, who asked him to join his band, where he acquired the nickname Bombino - a variation on the Italian word for “little child.” He lived in Algeria and Libya, and while he was a teen Bombino and his friends watched at lots of music videos, especially the Jimi Hendrix’s and Mark Knopfler’s ones, over and over examined in an effort to master their licks. Bombino worked regularly as a musician and also as a herder in the desert near Tripoli, spending many hours alone watching the animals and practicing his guitar. Eventually, Bombino returned to Niger, where he continued to play with a number of local bands. As his legend grew, a Spanish documentary film crew helped Bombino record his first album, Group Bombino’s Guitars from Agadez Vol. 2, which became a local radio hit. In 2009, Bombino met filmmaker Ron Wyman, who had heard a cassette of Bombino’s music while traveling near Agadez. Wyman was enchanted by Bombino’s music and spent a year seeking him out, eventually tracking him down to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, where he was in exile after two band members were killed in a rebellion. (The Tuaregs have since put down their arms and returned to Niger.) Wyman featured Bombino in a documentary he was filming about the Tuareg and also produced his 2011 solo album, Agadez. Bombino caused a number of sensations in the last two years and played an incredible amount of fantastic concerts all over the world. Rolling Stone wrote a big article about Bombino and literally celebrated him in words. The New York Times and other relevant media did the same. Later Jools featured him in 2012. His new album was released worldwide on April 1st and it is produced by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach and was recorded in his Easy Eye Sound in Nashville.