For centuries, the African desert town of Agadez has served as a converging point for the great camel caravans driven by the Tuareg people that link West Africa with North Africa and the Mediterranean. Born in 1980 at a nomadic camp near this dusty outpost, the young guitarist and songwriter Omara "Bombino" Moctar was raised during an era of armed struggles for Tuareg independence and violent suppression by government forces. He spent his childhood learning the survival skills necessary to a nomadic lifestyle. When he was barely 12 years old, his family took refuge in Tamanrasset, Algeria, to escape the hostilities related to the outbreak of the ?rst Tuareg rebellion. In that same year, he picked up his ?rst guitar.
Over the course of a life that has seen him experience brutal government oppression through two separate Tuareg rebellions, life in exile, and numerous other incredible hardships, Bombino has developed a truly unique style of music that carries a powerful message. His electrifying jams capture the spirit of resistance and rebellion while echoing with guitar riffs reminiscent of fellow Africans Tinariwen and Ali Farka Touré, not to mention rock and blues icons such as Jimi Hendrix, John Lee Hooker, and Jimmy Page.
In January 2010, the Sultan of Agadez granted Bombino permission to stage a concert outside the Grande Mosque of Agadez – the ?rst time such an event was allowed. A thousand people showed up, and after three years of rebellions, drought, and a devastating ?ood, Agadez found a reason to celebrate. Bombino's soaring guitar solos brought the entire crowd to their feet dancing. The sizeable reputation that this inspiring guitarist enjoys in his homeland is growing fast. He is featured in the (2010) Ron Wyman film Agadez, the Music and the Rebellion, which chronicles the journey of the Tuareg people. Now, having recently released his first major album, fittingly titled Agadez (2011), Bombino's stature as one of Africa's hottest young guitarists has been revealed to the entire world.