Day 01

Main Stage

2:00 PM

Guitar luminary and Tuareg folk hero Omara “Bombino” Moctar knows the nomadic life well. Being constantly on the road for his music while also perpetually on the move throughout the Sahel region of Africa is the norm. When the pandemic brought the world to a screeching halt, Bombino found himself in an unfamiliar space: being in one place.

What resulted was the follow-up to 2018’s Deran, a record that turned Bombino into the first-ever GRAMMY-nominated artist from Niger. This new collection of songs, entitled Sahel (his seventh release, in 2023, and named after the African region spanning East-West from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea), is Bombino’s most personal, powerful, and politically-minded work to date. It’s also his most sonically diverse, a quality he set out to achieve from the start, and one that is meant to directly mirror the complex tapestry of cultures and people that make up the Sahel region itself. He says, “the general plight of the Tuareg is always on my mind and while I’ve addressed it in my music all along, I wanted to give it a special focus on this album.”

“Bombino’s an incredible musician,” says Sahel producer David Wrench (David Byrne, Frank Ocean, Caribou, Goldfrapp, Erasure, The xx, Sampha), “easily one of the best musicians I’ve ever worked with.” Wrench’s role was to present Bombino and his band in a way that captured the Tuareg sound (which spans centuries) while connecting it to our immediate present. Wrench made his name mixing and recording psychedelic rock and electronic music, and he heard Bombino as part of that spectrum. “To me, I see him not that far outside of those realms. The rhythms are all in 3s instead of 4s, but it has a similar effect: the repetition and intensity and the feeling it has, it’s not a million miles away from techno. Listening to his music has a similar effect on you: it can definitely take you somewhere quite different.”

Jul 01
Jul 04