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Bombino: Rock From North Africa

Bombino is Goumour Almoctar, a musician who was born in Tidene, Niger, on January 1, 1980. He is member of the nomadic Ifoghas tribe, which part of the Tuareg people. The Tuaregs are an ancient people of Berber extraction who inhabit North Africa.

Both  Bambino and the Tuareg have complex stories. In one way, however, Bombino’s upbringing was not too different from an American or British kid:

He fought often with his father, who did not want his son to become a musician. To escape this problem, Bombino decided to travel to Algeria and Libya in 1996. In Libya, he made friends with some local musicians, and they would spend time watching videos of Jimi Hendrix, Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits and others in an effort to master their licks.

Bambino reminds me a lot of Bob Marley: He is charismatic, deals with political and social issues in his songs and, as the excerpt said, combined of rock and indigenous music. He does it flawlessly.

It is interesting to note that surf guitar pioneer Dick Dale is partly of Lebanese extraction and is heavily influenced by middle eastern and North African music.

Above is “Tar Hani,” which I particularly like. The song below is not identified.

Bambino’s site was used as a reference for this post. Here is more on the Tuareg people.

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Reading Music

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Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.


The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.