Oslo World at Henie Onstad: Bombino

The guitar virtuoso from Niger returns to Oslo World second year in a row.

2. November 2pm

Buy tickets here.

It isn’t quite right to say that Bombino left last years Oslo World with unfinished business. After all, his concert at Cosmopolite, which changed from electric masterclass to an intimate acoustic affair halfway through when the power went out in the entire district, was one of the definite highlights of the festival. In modern musical language, the word “unplugged” is applied liberally. It pretty much means the use of large acoustic bass guitars, instruments we rarely see in any other setting. Other than that, it’s quite often regular concerts with the same use of amplifications as always. Rarely do we get to hear the sound coming directly from the artist. But that was the case, whether we wanted it or not, at Cosmopolite last year. When it became clear that the electricity would not come back in time to finish the show, someone found an acoustic guitar and a drum. Bombino stayed on stage, illuminated by mobile phone flashlights, and continued to spellbind the large, quiet audience.

Already the next day, we talked about how fun it would be to invite him back. There were at least two good reasons, as far as we could see: The electric set that was cut off was scorching - and to hear a whole night of it was after all what we had invited Bombino to do in the first place. At the same time, we wished to repeat the unplugged adventure - perhaps in an even more suitable setting. It turned out that Bombino and his people had similar thoughts. So when he returns to Oslo World for the second year in a row, he will do two sets: One intimate accoustic concert at the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, and one uninterrupted electric show at Cosmopolite. Knock on wood.

This is what we wrote last year, by the way. It still holds true:

It is no exaggeration to say that Omara “Bombino” Moctar, who first visited Oslo World in 2011, ranks among the most important guitarists in the world today. On the contrary - the influence from the desert blues of Bombino, along with the Tuareg legends in Tinariwen, is rapidly expanding in today’s guitar based music. His style - lightning quick, elastic and deeply musical - is simply too infectious not to borrow from, much in the same way that Bombino himself watched videos of guitarists like Jimi Hendrix and Mark Knopfler in the 90’s, searching for tricks to emulate. His new album, “Deran”, was released on Partisan Records. The album, which has been well received among fans and critics and got Bombino a Grammy nomination - making him the first ever Grammy-nominated artist from Niger, was recorded in Morocco and is a conscious attempt at getting even closer to Bombinos Tuareg heritage - both musically and geographically. His sounds and ideas are easy to spot in the music made by indie artists like Dirty Projectors. David Longreth from said band produced Bombinos last record, “Azel” from 2016. On the one before that, Dan Auberbach from Black Keys had the same role. But no matter the producer, the end result is all about Bombinos singular musical vision. Memorable songs about current matters, performed by a truly special musician who is just getting started making his mark on global music.