A guitar virtuoso from Niger returns to Norway.
Omara “Bombino” Moctar ranks among the most remarkable and important performers of the electric guitar in the world today. The influence from the desert blues of Bombino, along with the Tuareg legends in Tinariwen, is rapidly expanding. 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 “steal”, melding it with the limb rhythms and phrasing found in Tuareg music. His sounds and ideas have become an influence on indie artists like Dirty Projectors today. David Longreth from said band produced Bombinos “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. In 2018, his latest studio album to date, “Deran”, was nominated for a Grammy award (Best World Music Album), the first-ever Grammy nomination for an artist from Niger.
His latest album, 'Live In Amsterdam' was recorded at a performance in November 2019 and released in November 2020 (Partisan Records). It is a vibrant recording of the artist and his band, on top of their game. Bombino dedicated the album to his dear friend and bandmate Illias Mohamed who tragically passed away just a few weeks before the release of the album. The concert in Amsterdam from which the album was made was one of Illias' final performances. Regardless of the challenges life throws at him, Bombino marches ever forward on his mission to use music to spread love, understanding, and the beauty of Tuareg culture throughout the world. Bombino has performed at Oslo World several times before, his audience and aura growing each time. He has become a true festival friend, and it is such a joy to be able to share this stellar live performer with the rest of the Movement Network this year.
Solo meeting with a national treasure
Knut Reiersrud has influenced Norwegian music for 45 years. He has created chaos at blues bars with the Swedish legend Sven Zetterberg and filled church rooms and concert halls with musicians such as Iver Kleive and Sondre Bratland. Since the beginning of the nineties, where he played during the Olympic opening in Lillehammer with Kleive, he has simply been a central part of the sound of Norway. In addition, he has played with international greats such as Dr John, Buddy Guy, Nina Hagen, Rickie Lee Jones, David Lindley and made recordings in countries such as Nepal and Iran. His CV is a world map.
He has received three Norwegian and one Danish Grammy, made 16 solo albums and participated in over 300 record releases. Still, it might be right now he seems the most inspired. Just listen to the meeting between blue guitar tones and the orchestral music of Dvorak and Beethoven in the remarkable KORK collaboration A New World. Or go to a small club and check out his duos with drummers Michaela Antalová and Ole Mofjell, who reveal a new hunger for improv music, inspired by new generations of musicians. He still plays the blues, both with his brilliant band and alone, as he will do during Oslo World. That's more than enough. “National treasure” is a term that can be applied to so many things. When it comes to artists, we like to talk about people who are loved, and who represent their work with a distinctive form of integrity and expertise. If Knut Reiersrud in his sixty-first year does not fit this description, no one does.