West African Guitarists I Love
I'm a music omnivore. I'm not devoted to one or two genres only. I listen to stuff from all over the world. A lot of people don't like listening to music that's in a language they aren't conversant in, but that's not an obstacle for me and I've found some great stuff as a result. Here's a short list of some great guitarists from West Africa.
- •BombinoOmar Moctar, popularly know as Bombino, is a Tuareg musician from Niger. Electric guitar is really popular among Tuaregs and it's an instrument that's been banned at times as they've become more vocal about civil rights. He's been in exile several times. I have some awesome pics I took of him somewhere on my phone that I'll dig out one of these days.
- •Ali Farka TouréSo much great music from Mali, and Ali is one of the greatest and most popular. I love his album Niafunké. Hate that I never got to see him before he passed away. If you've ever listened to NPR, you've heard the riff of his song "Tulumba" used A LOT.
- •Vieux Farka TouréVieux is Ali's son and quite an axe slinger himself. He also has been living in exile occasionally given Mali's periodic crackdowns on music in general (but especially on secular music.) Met him in Denver several years ago. He was one of the nicest, most gracious musicians I've ever met.
- •Abdallah Ag LamidaTuareg guitarist from Mali that's in the mindblowingly great band, Tinariwen. He's been arrested many times and is currently living in exile. Saw him play live two years ago and I'm still recovering from how spectacular it was.
- •Barthélémy AttissoTogolese guitarist with the phenomenal Senagalese band Orchestra Baobab. Check out the albums "Pirate's Choice" or "Specialist In All Styles" to hear him work his magic. Just so fluid. I was into him way before it, but there was a good VH1 special of Trey Anastasio from Phish going over to Senegal to meet him.
- •Afel BocoumAfel is one of Ali's protégés and also from Mali. His album Alkibaar is straight 🔥. It was recorded at the same time as Ali Farka Touré's Niafunké (which is the name of the town they're both from.)
- •Hopefully you find something new to explore (and love) on this list.
- •If I didn't mention a band, it means they perform under their name. All of these folks have stuff on Spotify.