With fellow Tuareg musicians like Tinariwen and Terakaft becoming familiar to American fans of the “desert blues” (following the path blazed by Ali Farka Toure back in the ‘80s), Omara “Bombino” Moctar had the stage set for him. His first release, 2004’s Agamgam, was recorded in a dry river bed in the African bush, and found its way into the hands of serious African guitar fans though it was poorly distributed.  (You can now find Agamgam on iTunes, under the name “Bambino”).  Bombino’s rock-star status in the Sahara grew as he exhibited a flair for electrified American blues and rock, as well as the more delicate, traditional sounds of Western Africa. Agadez, named for his hometown and also the title of a documentary film featuring his music, is less “rock” than the blistering songs of Guitars from Agadez, and more bucolic and hypnotic. His songs are rich with the Tuareg history of warfare, exile, and pride of place; the sheer joy of “Tenere (The Desert, My Home),” the tint of sadness on “Iyat Idounia Aysasahen (Another Life),” and the heat of passion on “Tar Hani (My Love),” are palpable, and impressively memorable.

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