13 Questions with Bombino as he announces new live album

As Bombino announces new live album for November release, we caught up with him for a quick chat.

On November 27, Niger-born Tuareg guitar wizard Bombino will release his first-ever live album as a solo artist, Live in Amsterdam (via Partisan Records).

Recorded in November of 2019 while Bombino and his band were touring behind his acclaimed latest studio album Deran, the release will coincide with RSD Black Friday.

There’s a teaser of Azamane Tiliade at the bottom of the page.

Live In Amsterdam shows off Bombino’s rich musical palette, as he and his band seamlessly blend folk, rock, blues, funk, and most uniquely the ‘Tuareggae’ sub-genre which Bombino and his band pioneered.

In addition to his regular band, this performance features special guests and Bombino’s cousins, Nigerian singer/actress Toulou Kiki as well as Anana Harouna of Kel Assouf.

Live In Amsterdam is dedicated to the loving memory of longtime Bombino band member Illias Mohamed Alhassane (rhythm guitar, vocals), who sadly and suddenly passed away in September of this year.

Live In Amsterdam features Illias in his final recorded performance with his ‘brothers’ in Bombino’s band. May his soul rest in peace.

We caught up with Bombino for an email chat.

Live in Amsterdam

1. Where are you and what are you doing?

I am in Niamey. I am taking care of my three little girls during the day, and playing music at night.

2. What is your favourite view?

The beauty of the vast, empty Sahara desert.

3. What was the thinking behind releasing a live album?

Fans had been asking us for many years when we would release a live album. Last year we decided it was time to satisfy the demands of those fans.

4. What was the first record / cd you bought with your own money?

It was a cassette of Tinariwen. It was not even a real album, just a collection of their songs. I was about fifteen years old.

5. How is the music scene in Niger? Have you played any gigs recently? Have you been to any gigs?

The music scene in Niger is growing, I am happy to say. Thankfully coronavirus has not impacted us very badly in Niger, so people are still going out and mostly living their normal lives. I am playing concerts and at weddings.

6. If you could go to a gig right now, anywhere in the world, which band would you see? And in which venue?

To be honest, my favourite way to enjoy music is just playing with friends in the expanse of the desert. I don’t really go out to concerts. I would like to see Carlos Santana while he is still playing, though. He is one of my heroes.

7. Who are your musical influences?

Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Dire Straits, Tinariwen, Ali Farka Toure and Bob Marley.

8. Have you been recording new music? Any plans for new material?

We have plans for the next album, but I cannot talk about it very much at this point, especially with everything in the music industry being basically on hold.

9. Tell us something we don’t know about Bombino.

I love lasagna!

10. Which city do you recommend we visit – and why?

You must visit Agadez, the town where I grew up, in the north of Niger. It is very beautiful and unique.

11. What’s your drink of choice?

I enjoy coffee and tea. I also drink milk often – all are requirements in my dressing room.

12. What band or album do you think we should check out right now?

I like to recommend people listen to Ali Farka Toure’s ‘Niafunke’ — it is one of my favourite albums.

13. Do you have anything else to declare?

Niger is a beautiful place with wonderful people and I encourage all your readers to come visit us here if they ever get the opportunity.

Lead image – credit – Celine Pinget

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