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Album review | WORLD MUSIC

Bomino, ‘Nomad’

Tuareg guitar wizard Omara “Bombino” Moctar recorded his third album, “Nomad,” in Nashville with US session musicians augmenting his group and the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach producing. The setup screams crossover, except that Bombino’s sound, like that of desert-rock predecessors Tinariwen or Terakaft, is such a hybrid to start with, undergirded by the deep kinship of West African and American blues and sparked by the spread of Jimi Hendrix cassettes in Sahara encampments. The tension “Nomad” explores is not so much between cultures as between the dual aims of the blues: setting a mood and telling a story. On “Her Tenere,” Bombino’s repeating guitar lines and chant-like verses slot into a song structure ready for FM play, coated in Southern-rock grandeur and melancholy; “Imidiwan” allies ultra-sparse lyrics with folk-song appeal. “Azamane Tiliade” is a high-speed jam, while “Ahulakamine Hulan,” where the drum kit gives way to calabash and djembe, cultivates a roots feel. New elements like keyboards and lap steel guitar are deployed carefully, filling out the sound rather than leading it astray. (Out April 2)

Essential: “Her Tenere”

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