Artist to Watch: Bombino

Niger-born musician delivers burning psychedelic guitar

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Electrifying guitarist Bombino traveled from Agadez, Niger as a member of the nomadic Tuareg people to Dan Auerbach's Nashville studio last year, where the musician crafted his hypnotic new album, Nomad, with help from the Black Keys' frontman. The album's expansive first single and video, "Azamane Tiliade," leans toward the artist's hero, Jimi Hendrix, with its psychedelic presentation and inventive licks.

Best Albums of 2013 Mid-Year Report: Bombino, 'Nomad'

When asked about their time together, Nomad producer Auerbach told Rolling Stone, "We hung out on the east side and went to a couple of bars. Bombino's a super modest guy, very nice. His whole crew is a bunch of characters and he's definitely the Grand Poobah. I don't think the other guys are that much younger than him, but he definitely feels like the wise man; you just sort of get that sense when you're around him. He doesn't say that much but he's humble and well-respected."

For the ax-slinger born Omara Moctar – a onetime herder in the desert near Tripoli – that modesty likely comes from a life spent in exile. His pursuit of music hasn't been an easy road and he has been dealt his share of tragedy: in 2007, two members of his band were executed by the military for playing the guitar after the instrument had been banned. But Bombino has been resilient and his music has thrived, as evidenced by an acclaimed performance at Bonnaroo last month.

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