Before 2009, Bombino was little known outside Saharan Africa, where his career consisted of regionally available cassettes and roles in local bands. In the last few years, he has begun to find a following abroad. He has sold out venues across Europe and the US, and has garnered the praise of outlets ranging from Pitchfork to NPR’s Fresh Air, whose critic Milo Miles called Bombino ‘A young performer with the charisma and probing imagination to become the first Tuareg star.’
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.
The musician who started his world tour in April, will play at Stodola in November, Bombino is promoting his Nomad album, which is known for its single ‘Azamane Tiliade’.