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article imageBombino — The Tuareg Mark Knopfler

By Alexander Baron     Oct 1, 2013 in Entertainment
If you know anything about the Tuareg it is probably that he rides a camel. This one rides a motor bike and plays lead guitar.
Having traded in his ship of the desert for one with two wheels, Bombino also has an official website. Who doesn't nowadays? That being said, this guy sounds rather good. If his music - sung in the Tuareg dialect of Tamasheq - is unique, he may remind rock fans of Mark Knopfler who with his band Dire Straits burst onto the UK music scene in 1978 with Sultans Of Swing then took the world by storm.
You can read a bit about the man himself, Goumour Almoctar, here. Clearly he is regarded as an ambassador for the Tuareg and their vanishing way of life, but sadly history is against him and them, though it remains to be seen if they will be able to preserve their heritage and their unique language. In this respect he is probably more like Allan Smethurst, whose Norfolk dialogue songs have become a metaphor for a fast vanishing way of life. Indeed, his latest album is called Nomad. Having been born a nomad he is still one, although now he is roaming the world with his music instead of his own backyard.
Melodically, it is clear Bombino's music owes more to Western than to Arabic music with its complex scales, which often sound strange to the Western ear. You can find him all over YouTube; he appears to speak some English - like the rest of the known universe - but has not recorded in it so far. However, if you want to check him out live, he will be touring in Europe later this month. On October 17 he is in Tilburg, Netherlands, and on October 25 he will be here in South London, the day after Al Stewart plays Croydon. Hmm.
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