Watch/review: Bombino – Inar

Words by Nick Mee. @Nickjmee

At the end of this studio-shot promo, all falls quiet as the engineer asks Bombino if he’s happy with the take. “Oui’’, shrugs the artist and heads to the control booth for the playback.  It’s a curiously muted climax, nay, anticlimax, to four minutes of hypnotic, intricate groove – a pulsating marriage of fleet-fingered acoustic picking, heartfelt Tamasheq vocal and percussive desert blues.

As well as the laidback denouement, the fixed-camera format offers an involving glimpse of gifted players relaxed in their art, plus a sense of how the once-exiled Toureg musician from Niger collaborated with Dirty Projectors’ Dave Longstreth on producing his new, third, album, ‘Azel’. If the organic feel and complex rhythmic pirouettes of ‘Inar’ are anything to go by, Longstreth has shown enough respect to the emotional heft of Saharan sound to give Bombino free rein, and thus every chance of a big UK breakthrough this festival season.

Azel is out on 1 April on Partisan Records