Group Bombino "Guitars from Agadez Vol. 2"
In the glut of recent collections shining a light on past and present West African funk and soul, Niger, and Northern Africa itself, has gotten little attention. Group Bombino changes that. Guitar hipster Omara Mochtar (aka Bombino) mixes slow, acoustic tracks with brutal psych funk on this sophomore effort. The band backing him is hot as well, filling out Mochtar’s gritty guitar and poetic tales of local struggles and hopes.
In a way, electric tracks like “Kamu Telyat” are more intimate than the stripped down tone of songs earlier in the set like “Imuhar,” because the guitar is so raw and personal that it has “personal statement” written all over it. Again, Bombino shows that the villages of Niger are still rocking to American soul music, twisted and often improved by local rhythms and lyrical concerns.
Group Bombino highlights an over-looked area of African music and a guitar genius. Omara Mochtar and his ace band must come down hard on the One live, because these songs, as studio takes, pack an honest, stripped to the bone funk wallop. Their “dry sound,” coming as it does from exposure to the Sahara and its massive beauty and danger, picks up where bands like the more blues-y Tinariwen leave off. Dry though it may be, there seems to be passion galore in this area of the continent. 8/10 -- Mike Wood (28 October, 2009)