Not many artists can say that they have lived the majority of their life in exile, but world-renowned guitarist Omara “Bombino” Moctar is unlike many artists in more ways than one. After teaching himself to play the guitar at age 10, Bombino went on to study with famous Tuareg guitarist Haja Bebe who took Bombino under his belt and asked him to join his band.

Born in Niger among the nomadic Tuaregs, Bombino’s music is inspired both from traditional roots as well as Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana. His music is sung in the Tuareg language of Tamasheq, which has made him a voice for the people of Tuareg.

When tensions grew between the government in Niger and the Tuareg Rebellion in 20017, the government banned guitars for the Tuareg claiming that the instrument was being used as a means of rebellion. Two of Bombino’s fellow musicians were executed. Although Bombino went back into exile his music continued making its way around the world as the West soon caught attention of his killer guitar skills.

10 years since his mark on the Western world, Bombino is out of exile and his new album, Azel, was released at the beginning of April 2016 debuting at No. 1 on the iTunes world music chart.

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