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Bombino: SXSW 2016

Bombino at SXSW Radio Day Stage

Bombino at SXSW Radio Day Stage (photo by Sarah Burns/WFUV)

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Niger-born guitarist Bombino was part of the diverse, international lineup of this year's SXSW Radio Day Stage, powered by VuHaus, on Friday, March 18, broadcasting live from Austin, Texas, on WFUV 90.7FM with a video simulcast on VuHaus.

Bombino is steeped in the rich Tuareg tradition of desert blues, but for his third solo album, Azel, he's forged a local, Brooklyn bridge with Dave Longstreth of Dirty Projectors.

Azel, released on Partisan Records on April 1, was produced by Longstreth, and it deftly illuminates Bombino's nimble guitarwork and lyrical poetry, sung in his native Tamashek. It's a blistering, buoyant and life-affirming album, simmering with hypnotic trance ("Akhar Zaman (This Moment)") and what Bombino likes to call "Tuareggae," blending muscular, sand-lashed blues with sunnier Jamaican rhythms.

Bombino, real name Omara Moctar, recorded his last album, 2013's Nomad, with the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach so he's no stranger to global partnerships. For Azel, he travelled to Woodstock to work with Longstreth (and according to an article in Rolling Stone, also introduced the Dirty Projectors' frontman to the finer points of Mark Knopfler's guitarwork).

It didn't matter that Bombino's lyrics weren't sung in English during his SXSW Radio Day Stage set: the rhythm and energy transcended any language barrier, bringing a glowing warmth to the Convention Center ballroom. Enjoy the band's full performance and watch video below.

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