Azel, the new album by Nigerien guitarist, singer-songwriter and composer Bombino has reached the top of the Transglobal World Music Chart in May 2016.
May 2016 Chart
1. Bombino – Azel (Partisan Records)
2. Aziza Brahim – Abbar el Hamada (Glitterbeat Records)
3. Rokia Traoré – Né So (Nonesuch Records)
4. La Banda Morisca – Algarabya (Fol Música)
5. Konono Nº1 meets Batida – Konono Nº1 meets Batida (Crammed Discs)
6. Lakou Mizik – Wa Di Yo (Cumbancha)
7. Fanfare Ciocărlia – Onwards to Mars! (Asphalt Tango Records)
8. The Gloaming – 2 (Real World Records)
9. Stefano Saletti & Banda Ikona – Soundcity – Finisterre
10. Katerina Tsiridou – Aman Katerina: A Tribute to Panayiotis Toundas (Protasis Music)
11. Sociedade Recreativa – Sociedade Recreativa (La Chaudière Production / Jarring Effects)
12. Damir Imamović’s Sevdah Takht – Dvojka (Glitterbeat Records)
13. V.A. – Every Song Has its End: Sonic Dispatches from Traditional Mali (Glitterbeat Records)
14. Las Hermanas Caronni – Navega Mundos (Les Grands Fleuves)
15. Anoushka Shankar – Land of Gold (Deutsche Grammophon)
16. DagaDana – Meridian 68 (Karrot Kommando)
17. Sidestepper – Supenatural Love (Real World Records)
18. Elza Soares – The Woman at the End of the World / A Mulher do Fim do Mundo (Mais Um Discos)
19. Karsh Kale – Up (Six Degrees Records)
20. Päre – Hausjärvi Beat (Zebo Records)
21. 2016: Afro Celt Sound System – The Source (ECC Records)
22. Pedro Soler & Gaspar Claus – Al Viento (InFiné)
23. Pulsar Trio – Cäthes traum (T3 Records)
24. Filippo Gambetta – Otto Baffi (Filippo Gambetta)
25. Eva Salina – Lema Lema: Eva Salina Sings Šaban Bajramović (Vogiton Records)
26. Manuel Volpe & Rhabdomantic Orchestra – Albore (Agogo Records)
27. Zulya and the Children of the Underground – On Love and Science (Zulya and the Children of the Underground)
28. Amsterdam Klezmer Band – Oyoyoy (Amsterdam Klezmer Band)
29. Vesevo – Vesevo (Agualoca Records)
30. Michael Messer’s Mitra – Call of the Blues (Knife Edge Records)
31. Osei Korankye – Seperewa of Ghana: Ɛmmerɛ nyina nsɛ (Akwaaba Music)
32. Vigüela – Temperamento (ARC Music)
33. Ex aequo:
Josemi Carmona & Javier Colina – De Cerca (Universal Music Spain)
Galandum Galundaina – Quatrada (Açor)
35. Claudia Aurora – Mulher do Norte (Red Orange Recordings)
36. Joseph Tawadros – World Music (Joseph Tawadros)
37. Rocky Marsiano – Meu Kamba Vol. Dois (Akwaaba Music)
38. Kimi Djabaté – Kanamalu (Red Orange Recordings)
39. Seheno – Hazo Kely (Lokanga)
40. Afenginn – Opus (Tutl / Westpark Music)
In 2007, several Tuareg groups rebelled in Niger and in Mali. It was the not the very first instance of Tuareg rebellion in Niger and in Mali and the same had happened and belongs to a history of Tuareg rebellion in the region. The Tuareg are an ambitious people forever in search of a new political reality and the project can only influence their cultural ambitions.
Tuaregs produce many great musicians and one of them is Bombino. Bombino’s most recent album Azel, released on Partisan Records on April 1, is an album abundant in beautiful guitar playing. The fact that Bombino sings as he plays the guitar makes this an album that will be partially misunderstood by any English speaker, unless if the songs’ Tamasheq (Tuareg language) lyrics are translated. However, it is possible to be fully invested in this album without understanding the lyrics.
The album’s abundance of guitar playing is the most striking part of the whole affair and delivers an incredible experience for the listener. The word abundance is generally used to denote a very large quantity of something in a positive way; an abundance of anything alludes to an amount of wealth.
Abundance can get very close to being saturation and is a balancing act if being purposely produced. In music, when it’s good, an abundance of anything is celebrated by most. Minimalism is often applauded by professional critics but never as popular as rhythmic, melodic, harmonic abundance, or the abundance of a single instruments participation in a song. It’s hard to pull off however and can become very annoying.
An economy of instrument playing is easier to pull off. In the societies of less developed countries, a song’s abundance can make heroes of out certain musicians: an abundance of chords or poetry in a song’s lyrics can momentarily change day to day morbidity or hardship or affirm one’s existence.
This album is not what is expected from Tuareg music and it’s clear that Bombino did not want this album to be. Bombino combines American idioms with African string playing. He does this with erudition and by never once seeming not confident in his aesthetic.
Azel is an album to listen to attentively.
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