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  • Performance
Bombino Posing With Guitar

Photo © Ron Wyman

An Evening with Bombino

Wednesday, October 11, 2023, 7:30–9:00 p.m.
Location:  Gartner Auditorium
Gartner Auditorium

About The Event

Join Bombino, dubbed “the Sultan of Shred” by the New York Times and “the World’s Greatest Guitarist” by Noisey, for a night of incredible live music and “a groove you can ride to the end of the earth” (Billboard). NPR describes Bombino’s music as “fluid and bluesy, his guitar playing is more than just an agile dance between rhythm and melody. It speaks and breathes across centuries.”

Born in 1980 in the nomadic Tuareg encampment Tidene, just outside Agadez, Niger, Bombino came of age during much political upheaval, fleeing with his family to Algeria in 1990. He taught himself how to play guitar by watching videos of his heroes Jimi Hendrix, Dire Straits, Ali Farka Touré, and Tinariwen. After years of honing his skills back home and spending time as a shepherd in Libya, he left Africa and traveled to California in 2006 as lead soloist with Tidawt.

As the political landscape became more unstable in Niger in 2007, two of his friends and bandmates were accused of being “Tuareg rebels” and presumably killed by the government. Bombino fled to Burkina Faso, where he met filmmaker Ron Wyman in 2009. Ron helped produce Bombino’s first record, Agadez (2011), which showcased Bombino’s captivating vocals, his hypnotic, awe-inspiring guitar playing, and his evocative rhythms. The album was cited as one of NPR’s best discoveries of the year.

In 2018, Bombino released his second album, Deran, which turned the guitar luminary and Tuareg folk hero into the first-ever Grammy-nominated artist from Niger.

“Aitma,” the lead single from Bombino’s latest release, Sahel, features his sparks-spraying guitar pyrotechnics, punctuated by howling ululations. It is a call to arms delivered in his native Tamasheq language. Tonight, Bombino and his band perform “Aitma” as well as additional music from Sahel, which was produced by David Wrench (David Byrne, Frank Ocean, Caribou, The xx) and recorded at Studio HIBA in Casablanca, Morocco.

More info about Bombino can be found on his website.

Tickets
$33–$45, CMA members $30–$40

Video URL

The 2023–24 Performing Arts Series is sponsored by the Musart Society. This program is made possible in part by the Ernest L. and Louise M. Gartner Fund, the P. J. McMyler Musical Endowment Fund, and the Anton and Rose Zverina Music Fund.

    The Cleveland Museum of Art is funded in part by residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.

    Performing arts programs are supported in part by the Ohio Arts Council, which receives support from the State of Ohio and the National Endowment for the Arts.