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Bombino, Matt Jennings 

When: Sat., Dec. 10, 9 p.m. 2011
Price: $15
Bombino (AKA Niger guitarist Omara Mochtar) came to many Westerners' attention through Seattle's Sublime Frequencies label, which issued Group Bombino's Guitars from Agadez Vol. 2 album. He started playing guitar at age 12 after his family took refuge in Algeria during the violent Tuareg rebellion, and feelings from the subsequent hardships seeped into his music. Bombino flaunts two main styles: sparse, mantric, acoustic blues licks that radiate an ancient ache and lack, and a lacerating, highly torqued electric attack that recalls drone rockers like Pärson Sound. For his latest album, Agadez (on Cumbancha Discovery), Bombino moves into mellower modes. Accompanied by Western musicians on Agadez, Bombino sings with more conventional melodic soulfulness and his guitar riffs assume a more fluid tone. He's still purveying a beautiful rolling blues that you want to unspool endlessly, but for better or worse, Bombino sounds less desperate and hungry here. DAVE SEGAL

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