Bambino, rocking the guitar, Tuareg style
April 10, 2010 6:45 PM   Subscribe

The other day someone asked me "who's the most deeply grooving and truly exciting electric guitar player you've heard lately?" and I said "this guy".
posted by flapjax at midnite (82 comments total) 80 users marked this as a favorite

 
Here's Bambino in a mellower but no less enjoyable mood.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:46 PM on April 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, note that the band in the first clip consists only of Bambino, one other guitarist (no bass) and a drummer. Kickass.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:53 PM on April 10, 2010


YES. This is AWESOME. I love this.

Also, I am pretty drunk.
posted by water bear at 7:03 PM on April 10, 2010


(I'm not drunk and) this is awesome. It's got such a... fresh, spontaneous quality to it, it's reminescent of Woodstock (maybe it's the photography, certainly it's the public), or the Rooftop Concert. It's 'down' there we should be looking.
posted by _dario at 7:10 PM on April 10, 2010


Awesome.
posted by waitingtoderail at 7:12 PM on April 10, 2010


I feel this.
posted by Nattie at 7:15 PM on April 10, 2010


Is this their culture?
posted by Faze at 7:25 PM on April 10, 2010


In that first clip, I think he's just playing pentatonic improvisational music through an overdriven amp, something that sounds very familiar. But playing it over an African beat he creates something completely new. I actually can't recall ever hearing anyone do this before, and it really works, this is great. He is very good.

Someday I'd like to travel through Africa focusing entirely on seeing musicians, and I'd like to take flapjax with me. Thank you for another great post.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:28 PM on April 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


The second guitar player needs to play bass. This is awesome.
posted by daniel9223 at 7:36 PM on April 10, 2010


Is this their culture?

Uh... what?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:36 PM on April 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuck yeah.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:37 PM on April 10, 2010


This immediately reminded me of Tinariwen, another group of Tuareg musicians with electric chops.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcqlOq1cjjc
posted by selfnoise at 7:40 PM on April 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is this their culture?

*punches nearest thing*

Whoa how did that happen.
posted by fleacircus at 7:43 PM on April 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


Hippie jam band dancing is the same the world over.

(Sorry - 8 posts about a musician and no snark? I fear for the future of Metafilter.) Bambino does not exist until Damon Albarn tells me he does.
posted by Keith Talent at 7:43 PM on April 10, 2010


Yeah, Tinariwen is a killer band, too.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:44 PM on April 10, 2010


I reallllly love the chugging along droning sound he's got going on.
posted by fleacircus at 7:45 PM on April 10, 2010


Totally fresh.
posted by odasaku at 7:47 PM on April 10, 2010


Hippie jam band dancing is every one's culture, or it should be.
posted by daniel9223 at 7:48 PM on April 10, 2010


> Is this their culture?

I will give you a definitive yes or no if you can briefly explain why it wouldn't be.
posted by ardgedee at 8:00 PM on April 10, 2010


The 8 minute documentary video posted on his facebook page is seriously good. I'm not quite sure what's going on around 5:30, but it makes me very glad to be alive.
posted by felix betachat at 8:07 PM on April 10, 2010


If you enjoy this, you must to listen to Cler Achel by Tinariwen.
posted by letitrain at 8:20 PM on April 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


Phenomenal, jax.

The Tuareg have been royally screwed for a century. It is gratifying to hear that the powerful soul of the lords of the desert is alive and well. Leo Fender would be proud to hear what his Strat is doing these days. . .in North Africa.

Oh, and listen to Tinariwen if you like Bambino.
posted by rdone at 8:29 PM on April 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, Faze, it is their culture. The kora and narrative history have a long intertwining history in west Africa. Yes, there are circular influences and inferences. The music of Africa came to America hundreds of years ago and that music made it back to Africa via radio, recordings, and live music.

flapjax, thanks for another fine lead toward more intriguing music. I too thought immediately of Tinariwen, and of Foday Musa Suso, and of Bambino's mentor Ali Farka Touré. And back to the west, where our culture adopts and adapts instruments & music from other cultures--and does it damn well, thank you, it reminded me of musicologist, musician, and banjoist extraordinaire, Otis Taylor.
posted by beelzbubba at 8:34 PM on April 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Throw Down Your Heart
posted by daniel9223 at 8:51 PM on April 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Eye candy, ear candy, and candy for the soul.
posted by francesca too at 9:07 PM on April 10, 2010


Slarty Bartfast, there's a festival in the desert in Mali every year that you might be interested in.
posted by clockzero at 9:11 PM on April 10, 2010


I'm sure can catch Bambino this summer on Jam Band Cruise VI. Or hell on earth. Sorry, MFers.
posted by grapefoot at 9:18 PM on April 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


You make a lot of great music posts. This is among the best, and that is saying a lot. This guy rocks, and rocks big.
posted by caddis at 9:28 PM on April 10, 2010


Fucking awesome post. As a life long guitar player, I've always been interested in hearing the various cultural voices that can come from the instrument. As far as Africa is concerned I've been a fan of Sunny Ade, but man, Bambino leaves me a bit humbled. And yea, that's a good thing.
posted by snsranch at 9:29 PM on April 10, 2010


Excellent. Thank you.
posted by Splunge at 9:49 PM on April 10, 2010


Is this their culture?

i don't know man, but it's HIS tone he's got with that strat through a marshall amp, and it's a righteous one - who gives a fuck?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:56 PM on April 10, 2010


This had a unique passion and rhythmic freshness to it that I liked. I only wish I could hear him play over something other than just an A minor chord this repetitively. Although I also hear a taste of Hendrix a bit here, and don't know how or if that's even possible.

Another great post, of course, from flapjax!
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 10:44 PM on April 10, 2010


I'm so glad you posted this --- I randomly stumbled across him one night on the Internet, and just became completely entranced with this song...unfortunately misspelled as "Group Bombino" and thus was never able to properly follow up.

It's kind of a humbling experience listening to this; I'd long ago given up on thinking of rock music as any kind of forward-thinking force in music, and given enough whiskey, would loudly complain about it's sad retreat into stultified tradition and twee...and then you hear something like this, that is still recognizable and placeable as "rock," but still so far out there as to be incomparable to what is commonly considered to be the experimental fringe of the genre. It's about as far from beardy indie-rock as you can get while still acknowledging a common ancestor. Modern Western pop music has more or less abandoned the genre and turned away from the aesthetic, but in some places, it's far from dead.

Basically, it makes me embarrassed of the times I bragged loudly about throwing out my guitar. (I never did, of course; it sits at the foot of my bed, though it gets fed through a computer these days, rather than a Marshall stack.)
posted by Tiresias at 11:08 PM on April 10, 2010


Also see the similarly incredible Group Doueh.
posted by Tiresias at 11:11 PM on April 10, 2010


I'm gonna break this dusty stage... and run
posted by metaplectic at 11:22 PM on April 10, 2010


Is this their culture?
Cultures do evolve and change. People are not static.
posted by gt2 at 11:37 PM on April 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


the internet is pretty cool.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:43 PM on April 10, 2010


Thanks for this flapjax, like Tiresias I'm finding this particularly inspiring right now. Groovy as hell.

Faze: "Is this their culture?"

Some leading questions of my own: After thousands of years of contrary evidence, why do some people continue to believe that an individual culture is some hermetically sealed thing that accepts and renders no external influence? I mean, do we even have any idea which culture first discovered the pentatonic scale?
posted by vanar sena at 12:06 AM on April 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


Regarding whose culture it is, the size of a culture is defined by the limits of communication - I hear Malagasi music via the American south in this (though I could be mistaken).
posted by idiopath at 12:12 AM on April 11, 2010


Hippie jam band dancing is every one's culture, or it should be.

Christ fucking no. Music and dancing can be done by people other than hippies, thankfully.
posted by juiceCake at 1:02 AM on April 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


nice!

Although I also hear a taste of Hendrix a bit here, and don't know how or if that's even possible.


i'm not sure that living in the desert means you're in a cultural vacuum, so it seems quite possible (though i'm not sure i hear hendrix in there meself). but there again it all comes from the same source...

ali farka toure gets the blues.
posted by peterkins at 1:26 AM on April 11, 2010


Woah, flapjax. I'm watching this on a Sunday morning at 10 o'clock. Your post is the first I opened. 5 bars into that first clip and I'm stumbling to the fridge to reach for a beer, the kids start a pillow fight and the wife is pissed off. This is the best situational definition of rock'n'roll I've come across in a long time. Thanks (& cheers)!
posted by ouke at 1:29 AM on April 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


Most excellent.

Definitely a slight Voodoo Child taste in there. (Jimi's probably jamming in his grave.)
posted by The Mouthchew at 2:17 AM on April 11, 2010


Bambino, not so much. But Tinariwen....just awesome. Love that Qawwalli beat. Thanks Letitrain.
posted by Duug at 4:32 AM on April 11, 2010


Cultures do evolve and change. People are not static.

gt2 FTW.

And you know what? It's not even all that changed, really. Just a little electricity added, mainly. Y'all get with the fuckin' global program alright?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:29 AM on April 11, 2010


Christ fucking no. Music and dancing can be done by people other than hippies, thankfully.

Indeed. And have been done for a loooooong gaddam time by peoples all over the wooooorld, you ignant, see-everything through a twenty-something-years-old 'murikan lens babies. Edjucamate yaselves!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:34 AM on April 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Epic. I hope this becomes a meme over fuckin' rainbows.
posted by Damienmce at 5:35 AM on April 11, 2010


Bambino, not so much. But Tinariwen ....just awesome. Love that Qawwalli beat. Thanks Letitrain.
posted by Duug at 4:32 AM on April 11 [+] [!]

Say what? Qawali is, um, Pakistani music, my friend. Like, say, about 6147.37 kilometers from Niger, where Bambino and Tinariwen are from? You might wanna stop throwing around names and genres of which you clearly know little to nothing about, there, mister Duug. Dig? Well, maybe you're just drunk...

Also, there's only one L in Qawwali. Anyway, just listen to this guy, doing some qawwali, you see, and learn something. I say this with all due respect. All due.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:06 AM on April 11, 2010


Yeah, and, two Ws in qawwali. Spelling's a bitch. I get it right most of the time...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:08 AM on April 11, 2010


I could have done without Extraneous Shouting Guy, but otherwise this was very cool indeed.
posted by JeffK at 6:46 AM on April 11, 2010


Really Jax? Thanks for all the fish.
posted by daniel9223 at 6:47 AM on April 11, 2010


I could have done without Extraneous Shouting Guy, but otherwise this was very cool indeed.

He was just warming up the crowd. It's an old tradition in show biz.

Really Jax? Thanks for all the fish.

heh heh. Just straightening out summa the crooked angles.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:51 AM on April 11, 2010


Does this guy have an album I could purchase?
posted by LN at 7:06 AM on April 11, 2010


Just yesterday I was thinking "Man, I should get better with a pick so I can be a better lead player." Excuses, right?

Thanks flapjax, as always!
posted by danb at 7:25 AM on April 11, 2010


Great thread!
posted by ersatz at 7:26 AM on April 11, 2010


I think he may have released a CD of some kind but under the name Group Bombino
posted by Damienmce at 7:44 AM on April 11, 2010


One of those riffs totally reminds me of a Black Sabbath song.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:29 AM on April 11, 2010


I am also concerned that he's lifting things from another culture - Niger is a frankophone country, but bambino is an Italian word.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:10 AM on April 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is this their culture?

Don't be dense, Faze.
posted by jokeefe at 12:24 PM on April 11, 2010


UbuRoivas: "I am also concerned that he's lifting things from another culture - Niger is a frankophone country, but bambino is an Italian word."

Not to mention that there is a kid in the audience who appears to be performing a variation of the Melbourne Shuffle.

When I hear about the death of the last speaker of some language, or the last master of an ancient form of music, I get depressed and worried that the ongoing burst of cultural cross-pollination will turn all the various cultures into some homogeneous grey goo. But then I take heart in the hope that each artist's personal circumstances and community will add enough mutation to keep things interesting.

Take a look at the guitar that he's playing, for example. The first guitar-like things are are currently understood to have appeared somewhere in or around North Africa. They went across Asia (taking on the suffix tar or wire, cf sitar - an instrument that gives me nightmares for what it did to my fingers), to Europe, and arrived in North America via Spain. Assuming this is a US-made strat (otherwise we make another stop in East Asia), it made its full circle to Bambino from North America. He is playing an instrument that is arguably a globe-trotting, barely-recognizable descendant of the same axe his folk rock star ancestors might have used 4000 years ago. I think that's pretty cool, even if purists might not be pleased.

I don't think they had the equivalent of Shure mics back then though.

If I've got any of this history wrong, I'd appreciate only educational berating
posted by vanar sena at 12:33 PM on April 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is this their culture?

There is nothing inherently wrong with this question, although I doubt Faze actually watched the video if he's still asking it. What he's getting at, I believe, is a valid question: is this culture being represented by those who have been brought up in it and live it, or is it Westerners badly aping (see Rainbow Arabia) and taking credit for another culture? Again, easily answered in the affirmative by watching the video.

And now a question of my own, where can I find more Bambino?!
posted by StrangerInAStrainedLand at 12:41 PM on April 11, 2010


I think it's also worth noting that Niger is right next door to another fracophone (correct spelling, this time) central African country - Mali - that is the homeland of a number of incredibly talented & world-reputed guitarists, most notably, Grammy Award winning Ali Farka Toure. In face, upon seeing a guitarist in front of one of the region's distinctive mud-brick mosques, I initially assumed he was another Malian.

one of the African continent’s most internationally renowned musicians. His music is widely regarded as representing a point of intersection of traditional Malian music and its North American cousin, the blues. The belief that the latter is historically derived from the former is reflected in Martin Scorsese’s often quoted characterization of Touré’s tradition as constituting "the DNA of the blues". Touré was ranked number 76 on Rolling Stone’s list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:35 PM on April 11, 2010


in fact
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:36 PM on April 11, 2010


"Extraneous Shouting Guy" was just like the "Give it up for Guy" that is at every blues concert I have ever gone to, ha.

This was such joyful, awesome music - and a great thread too. Thanks for the post, Flapjax.

posted by madamjujujive at 4:40 PM on April 11, 2010


Must say, I was impressed. Swell percussionist, too.

Is this their culture?
Jimi was a big influence on guitarism all over the world.

Touré was ranked number 76 on Rolling Stone’s list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.
I'd say top ten.
posted by ovvl at 4:48 PM on April 11, 2010


Now that I think about it, if Bambino is Tuareg then his people are the ones who traditionally live way up in the Saharan north of Mali (and, I guess, Niger) with Timbuktu as their major trading centre. Ali Farka Toure was from Timbuktu.

i'm not sure that living in the desert means you're in a cultural vacuum

Heh, I remember being taken on a three-day trek of the Dogon region of Mali. Local Guides are mandatory, because the people are animist, and it would be extremely bad juju for the wrong kind of person to accidentally view a sacred object that they're not supposed to - various rocks & trees were pointed out to us as housing powerful spirits.

Anyway, a couple of days into the trek, we were shown into a particularly traditional animist village, where the first person we met was a teenaged boy wearing a Rage Against the Machine t-shirt.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:38 PM on April 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Tinariwen - Lulla
posted by ovvl at 7:11 PM on April 11, 2010


Is this their culture?

There is nothing inherently wrong with this question


I agree there's nothing wrong with the question, but you would never know that from the way people have jumped all over faze for asking it. Perhaps he could have phrased his question better and fleshed it out more, but I'm not sure why the question itself is prima facie misguided or wrong-headed.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 7:22 PM on April 11, 2010


To be fair to faze, it does like a bit incongruous - a guy in Tuareg robes jammin' out on an electric guitar in front of a mud-brick mosque.

But asking if it's the guy's culture sounds less like a genuine question, and more like a rhetorical one, almost implying that it's not his culture so he shouldn't be doing it - as if rock guitar is the sole preserve of westerners or something.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:59 PM on April 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


look, dammit, not like. why can't i write proper today?
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:00 PM on April 11, 2010


Whatever, Lightning Bolt was doing stuff like this years ago! Played out.

Um, I think this is super awesome music, seriously. Thanks for posting it.
posted by dubitable at 8:02 PM on April 11, 2010


The question was a shit stirring question. Seeing and African play rock and asking "whose culture is this" carries an entire agenda full of assumptions behind it. Assumptions that many of us (myself included) find objectionable.

By asking that question, is he trying to imply that rock guitar is white or western music? It is derived from African traditional music, no matter how completely white Americans might identify it as our own. Modern practice of African music is undeniably influenced by American and British interpretations, via of the global slave trade and the western capitalist culture industry.
posted by idiopath at 8:15 PM on April 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


No, it's just that Faze is a troll.
posted by yhbc at 8:51 PM on April 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


The question was a shit stirring question.

That's your opinion, and you may be right, but on the available evidence I have no way of knowing the intentions of the person who asked it: it might also have been a well-meaning question poorly phrased. Who knows.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 8:54 PM on April 11, 2010


I only wish I could hear him play over something other than just an A minor chord this repetitively.

Seeker, man, I think you're missing the point. The sort of harmonic practice that you seem to want out of him isn't universally prized and there's no reason it should be.

flapjax, this kicks every ass. I thought of Tinariwen too, but this is that turned up to 11. Thanks!
posted by invitapriore at 9:03 PM on April 11, 2010


invitapriore: "The sort of harmonic practice that you seem to want out of him isn't universally prized and there's no reason it should be."

In other words, Bambino was served up by nature as an antidote to this.
posted by vanar sena at 10:10 PM on April 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


There is nothing inherently wrong with this question

Faze is free to go ahead and ask, but, to put it very simply, it's extremely condescending. I'm happy to spend some time parsing it out with anyone here to wishes to take a run at why and exactly how it's so, but I'd rather spend my time listening to Bambino and grooving.
posted by jokeefe at 10:32 PM on April 11, 2010


jokeefe: save it for when we do Ethiopian jazz.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:35 PM on April 11, 2010


Weird that someone mentioned Qawwali and someone else ripped them a new one for confusing Tuareg and Qawwali. When my girlfriend introduced me to Tinariwen a couple of months back I introduced her to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan in exchange. I didn't consciously think of Tuareg music and Qawwali as being that similar, but I must have done at some level.
posted by JustAsItSounds at 1:32 AM on April 12, 2010


UbuRoivas-- heh. Perhaps Ethiopian hip hop/funk?
posted by jokeefe at 8:50 PM on April 12, 2010


D'oh.
posted by jokeefe at 8:52 PM on April 12, 2010


Oh, I just saw this thread--- you all might be interested in the Kuduro links in my last thread if you didn't see them before.

What's the beat called in this? It's pretty much what the Kuduro beat is based on..

Also, here is a good Japanese guitar player.
posted by empath at 1:46 PM on April 13, 2010


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