Bombino: Deran

by Stella Landry

The guitar slinging, Tuareg guitarist Bombino is out with his latest offering Deran. A fourth studio record which finds him abjuring modern rock producers and getting back to Africa.  The songs reflect a message of hope and are sung in Tuareg.  Bombino takes his unique sound and splashes a mixtures of rock, eastern flavoring, infectious grooves and a pinch of reggae.

Bombino’s band consists of Illias Mohammed on guitar, Youba Dia on bass, Corey Wilhelm on drums, Hassan Krifa on percussion, and Mohammed Araki on keyboard.  Bombino (born Omara Moctar) delivers his own unique style that sets him apart from most Tuareg groups.

“Imajghane” which translates to The Tuareg People, is an upbeat tune with infectious grooves and jangling guitar work sung in Bombino’s native tongue Tamasheq, the language of the Tuareg.  Bombino’s guitar-based “desert blues” or “desert groove” tunes as some call it, might have that camel gait-like loping rhythmic feel, however one desired to describe it, its hypnotic Saharan guitar.

“Deran Deran Alkheir” which translates to well wishes has a wonderful companion video out on youtube, I encourage you highly to check out here,  the song is a frenetic song of driving rhythms and repetitive melody that Bombino is quoted as saying is “his homage to a Tuareg wedding song, the drums are recorded deep, fast and loud, giving the song’s thrust a counter-intuitive aggression that wouldn’t be out of place on a Dead Rider song.”  The addition of hand claps and hypnotic chants are a mesmerizing soundscape on this tune.

Bombino has taken the production side of his work back to its roots in Northern Africa, continuing to bring focus to the Tuareg people. Who by in large are a Berber ethnic confederation. They principally inhabit the Sahara in a vast area stretching from far southwestern Libya to southern Algeria, Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso. Traditionally nomadic pastoralists, small groups of Tuareg are also found in northern Nigeria.  Its nice to see Bombino’s music resonating so well with the American music population, his captivating rhythms and infections grooves with a blues inflection is certainly a key element.

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