Home. Where the heart is. For Bombino and most other Tuareg, there’s only one place that can be. In recent years, the rest of the world has largely written off that home as a hot and savage wasteland, a bolt hole for religious extremists and terrorists, a geopolitical video nasty with little to offer apart from the oil, gold and phosphates that lie beneath its soil. But Bombino would like us to take a closer look and think again. His feelings are beautifully summed up in the song “Tehigren” (Trees), from his brand new album ‘Deran:’ "Do not forget the green trees / In our valleys in the Sahara / In the shade of which, / Rest the beautiful girls / Radiant and lovable."
How to celebrate that desert home, how to protect it, develop it, unify it, respect it and, above all, never forget it, are the salient themes of ‘Deran.’ They’re dressed up in ten songs of rare maturity and power that mark a turning point in the career of a guitarist and songwriter who was born in the shade of an acacia tree about eighty miles northwest of the ancient town of Agadez, and has since risen to the forefront of the new Tuareg guitar generation. It’s a turning back the source of everything that makes Bombino who he is.
“My mission for this album was always to get closer to Africa,” he says. Not surprising then that the decision was made to record ‘Deran’ as close as possible to his native Niger in the southern Sahara. The ideal venue emerged in the shape of Studio Hiba, a top flight recording facility owned by King Mohammed VI (he loves his tunes, apparently) located in a fairly drab industrial suburb of Casablanca in Morocco. There Bombino and his steady long-term band - fellow Tuareg Illias Mohammed on guitar and vocals, American Corey Wilhelm on drums and percussion and the Mauritanian (living in Belgium) Youba Dia on bass - slept, ate and made music in blissful isolation. Their circle was widened by Moroccan percussionist Hassan Krifa, and by Bombino’s cousins Anana ag Haroun (lead singer of the Brussels-based Tuareg band Kel Assouf), and Toulou Kiki (singer and star of the film Timbuktu), who dropped in to add some ‘gang’ vocals. After Casablanca, the tapes flew to Boston to be embellished by Sudanese friend and keyboardist Mohammed Araki.
Whatever emerged at the end of the process had to be fresh and powerful. Yes. Bombino and crew have conjured up a roving mystery tour of contemporary Saharan sounds, from the raw diesel rock of the opener "Imajghane" (The Tuareg), to the camel gait lope of "Tenesse" (Idleness), the tender lilt of "Midiwan" (My Friends) and the ‘Tuareggae’ style that is Bombino’s unique contribution to desert music on the song "Tehigren." All the desert is there, harsh and gentle, tragic and playful. But more than anything ‘Deran’ had to be honest and true. The pressure to be the authentic voice of his culture and his home on the world stage weighs heavy on Bombino. "You have to begin with the question of who you are,” he says. “You’re a Tuareg. With all the travels, all the experience of world, it’s as if I’m making myself remember where I come from. Where I come from will always be my home, my memory.”
Simple, raw, true, that was the brief. “We wanted him to take a deliberate step out of the shadow of the celebrity producer,” says Bombino’s manager, and ‘Deran’ producer, Eric Herman. “Apart from that, the idea was to take this raw, spontaneous, unadulterated approach to capturing his songs.”
Assembling his team on African soil was also Bombino’s way of questioning the divisions that separate people and continents, of demonstrating “that people here aren’t against foreigners.” Back in the late 1990s, early 2000s, like so many fellow Tuareg youth, Bombino worked as a cook and guide for various tourist agencies in the deserts around Agadez. He remembers how foreign visitors would often bring guitar strings to distribute among local musicians. To budding guitarists like Bombino, those strings were more valuable than gold. Now he rues the death of Saharan tourism, killed by insecurity and conflict.
“For us, it’s a matter of breaking down barriers,” he says, “not the frontiers of a country, but the frontiers that prevent people forming relationships. I mean, when you look Europe and Africa, the only relationship that seems to exist is one of military bases and security…Getting to know each other, that’s the most important thing for me.”
Bringing people together seems to be one of Bombino’s natural gifts. In Europe, North America, Japan, China, Australia, even most recently, Argentina and Chile, the grainy hypnosis of his horizontal grooves, the virtuosity of his guitar style and aerobic explosiveness of his stage shows have hooked a broad gamut of fans ranging from grey-bearded rock and blues habitués, to world-music devotees to young hirsute hipsters - broad enough to include the Rolling Stones, Arcade Fire, Queens Of The Stone Age and the Black Keys (who produced Bombino’s 2013 album Nomad). Less well known is the fact that back in Niger, his music, which he sings exclusively in Tamashek, the language of the Tuareg, has found favor with every one of the country’s many of ethnic groups, a feat of immense significance that no other Tuareg artist has managed to pull off. It could also be a small step in a grand dream - to see Africa regain the cultural, ethnic and economic interconnectedness that Bombino and so many others believe it once possessed before colonialism.
In the meantime, like every Tuareg, Bombino has to struggle with the inexhaustible tensions at the heart of Tuareg culture and society, between tradition and modernity, between tribes and factions. Almost all the songs on ‘Deran’ are touched by one or the other preoccupation. His grandparents lived exclusively from their herds, wheeling from well to well according to season and necessity, far from cities and crowds, free in their blessed immensity. How to preserve the essence of that old freedom, and the culture that went with it, whilst embracing the future, and reaching out to the rest of the world?
That’s the paradoxical challenge embodied in Bombino’s music, and life. ‘Don’t forget / What we know / What we have learned from our ancestors,’ he sings in “Imajghane” (literally ‘the free people’, aka The Tuareg). "My heart is burning! / It burns because of my brothers / My brothers who do not love each other," runs the refrains of “Oulhin” (My Heart). How do you preserve achak - the unwritten code of Tuareg dignity, morality and behavior - in an epoch of Facebook, 24-hour TV, mobile phones and distorted guitars?
Not with a Kalashnikov - Bombino is convinced of that. “For me [taking up arms] is a revocation of the Tuareg’s future,” he says. “There are so many problems already. When people revolt, it doesn’t have to be an armed uprising, or a dangerous undertaking. It’s simply a matter of a people laying claim to certain things, and respecting themselves at the same time.” He suggests that the Tuareg should be demanding proper roads (pointing out that Agadez is still connected to the rest of Niger by a slow and treacherous un-paved piste), encouraging trade, and the ability of Saharans, and Africans more widely, to meet each other, do business, exchange stories, play music. That’s the way forward.
Deran, Deran, Alkheir. "Best wishes, best wishes, for peace." That’s the cry of the woman that graces a Tuareg wedding, that showcase of all that is beautiful, sensuous and homely in desert life. What does Bombino wish for? “We’re a people who wish for peace,” he says. “We wish for peace in Libya. We wish for peace in Mali. And we hope that we’re given our due recognition, like all the people in the world who have the right to their own resources, who have the right to their own land.”
Inshallah…if God wills it…as the Tuareg might say.
Introducing the 2021 Partisan Record Club: a yearly subscription that grants members six shipments per year. Each installment comes with one catalog title and one new title, plus exclusive merch, a permanent discount in the Partisan shop, and other bonuses along the way. The Club is limited to 150 entries, so secure your spot HERE before it sells out.
Partisan Records no longer has the capacity to accept unsolicited demos.
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Partisan Records, LLC, 281 N. 7th St., #2, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Our Terms and Conditions of Supply are provided by our shop and warehousing partner, Ochre. For more information about our shop's T&Cs, please visit here.
1. These Terms
1.1 What these terms cover. These are the terms and conditions on which we supply products to you, whether these are goods or digital content. These terms apply to orders of products made by you through third party websites in respect of which we provide retail services.
1.2 Why you should read them. Please read these terms carefully before you submit your order to us. These terms tell you who we are, how we will provide products to you, how you and we may change or end the agreement, what to do if there is a problem and other important information. If you think that there is a mistake in these terms or that they require any changes, please contact us to discuss.
2. Information about us and how to contact us
2.1 Who we are. We are Ochre Music Ltd trading as Ochre is a company registered in The United Kingdom. Our registered office is at Unit L, Spectrum House, 32-34 Gordon House Road, London, NW5 1LP. This store is operated by us on behalf of the Store Owner
2.2 How to contact us. If you have an issue with your purchase, customer services and fulfilment for this store is provided by Ochre.
2.3 How we may contact you. If we have to contact you we will do so by telephone or by writing to you at the email address or postal address you provided to us in your order.
2.4 "Writing" includes emails. When we use the words "writing" or "written" in these terms, this includes emails.
3. Our agreement with you
3.1 How we will accept your order. Our acceptance of your order will take place when we email you to accept it, at which point a binding agreement will come into existence between you and us.
3.2 If we cannot accept your order. If we are unable to accept your order, we will inform you of this in writing and will issue you with a refund. This might be because the product is out of stock, or because of other circumstances or events which we could not reasonably plan for, because we have identified an error in the price or description of the product or because we are unable to meet a delivery deadline you have specified.
3.3 Your order number. We will assign an order number to your order and tell you what it is when we accept your order. It will help us if you can tell us the order number whenever you contact us about your order.
3.4 Where we sell. We sell products in the UK and world-wide, except where we notify you that we are not able to supply products.
4. Our products
4.1 Products may vary slightly from their pictures. The images of products on our website are for illustrative purposes only. Your product may vary slightly from those images.
4.2 Product packaging may vary. The packaging of products may vary from that shown on images on our website.
5. Our rights to make changes
5.1 Minor changes to products. We may change products:
5.1.1 to reflect changes in relevant laws and regulatory requirements; and
5.1.2 to implement minor technical adjustments and improvements. These changes will not substantially affect your use of the products affected by the change.
5.2 More significant changes to products and these terms. If we need to make more significant changes to these terms or products for which you have placed an order, we will notify you and give you the opportunity to contact us to end the agreement and receive a full refund before the changes take effect.
6. Providing the products
6.1 Delivery costs. The costs of delivery will be as displayed to you on our website.
6.2 When we will provide the products. During the order process we will let you know when we will provide the products to you.
6.2.1 If the products are goods. we will provide you with an estimated delivery date when you place your order, which will be within 30 days after the day on which we accept your order, except in relation to pre-ordered goods, where we will give you an estimated shipping date based on when we expect the goods to be in stock.6.2.2 If the product is a one-off purchase of digital content. We will make the digital content available for download by you as soon as we accept your order, unless your order is a digital pre-order, in which case it will be made available on the stated release date.
6.3 We are not responsible for delays outside our control. If our supply of the products is delayed by an event outside our control then we will contact you as soon as possible to let you know and we will take steps to minimise the effect of the delay. Provided we do this we will not be liable for delays caused by the event, but if there is a risk of substantial delay you may contact us to cancel the order and receive a refund for any products you have paid for but not received.
6.4 If you are not at home when the product is delivered. If no one is available at your address to take delivery and the products cannot be posted through your letterbox, the carrier will leave you a note informing you of how to rearrange delivery or collect the products from a local depot. Redelivery of the product will be subject to the terms of the carrier.
6.5 When you become responsible for the product. The product will be your responsibility from the time we deliver the product to the address you gave us.
6.6 When you own goods. You own goods once we have received payment in full.
6.7 How long do I have to change my mind about a product? How long you have depends on what you have ordered and how it is delivered.
6.7.1 Have you bought digital content for download or streaming? If so, you have 14 days after the day we email you to confirm we accept your order, or, if earlier, until you start downloading or streaming. If we delivered the digital content to you immediately, and you agreed to this when ordering, you will not have a right to change your mind.6.7.2 Have you bought goods? If so you have 14 days after the day you (or someone you nominate) receive the goods.
6.8 When you don't have the right to change your mind. You do not have a right to change your mind in respect of:
6.8.1 digital products after you have started to download or stream these; or6.8.2 sealed audio or sealed video recordings or sealed computer software, once these products are unsealed after you receive them.
6.9 International Shipping. Orders shipped between countries may incur duties and taxes and additional fees levied by carriers or brokers to administer collection of said duties and taxes. For the avoidance of doubt payment of duties, taxes and any related carrier fees or costs is your responsibility. We will not be liable or responsible if you do not pay any such import duties or taxes.
7. If there is a problem with the product
7.1 How to tell us about problems. If you have any questions or complaints about the product, please contact us. You can telephone our customer service team at 0207864374 or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and Customer Services, Ochre, Spectrum House, 32-34 Gordon House Road, London, NW5 1LP.
7.2 Summary of your legal rights. We are under a legal duty to supply products that are in conformity with this agreement. See the box below for a summary of your key legal rights in the UK in relation to the product. Nothing in these terms will affect your legal rights.
7.3 Returning products to us. If you cancel the order for any reason after products have been dispatched to you or you have received them, or if you wish to exercise your legal rights to reject products, you must post them back to us. Please email us at email@example.com or visit https://support.ochre.store/ for a return label. If you are exercising your right to change your mind you must send off the goods within 14 days of telling us you wish to cancel the order. You must use a service that can return the product to us in good condition. Please ensure that the return parcel is marked clearly with the wording “Return to supplier”
7.4 When we will pay the costs of return. We will pay the costs of return if the products are faulty or misdescribed. In all other circumstances (including where you are exercising your right to change your mind) you must pay the costs of return.
7.5 How we will refund you. Within 14 days of receipt of the goods (or, in the case of digital content, you telling us you have changed your mind), we will refund you the price you paid for the products including delivery costs, by the method you used for payment. However, we may make deductions from the price, if (where you are exercising your right to change your mind) the product is received in a damaged or used state.
7.6 When your refund will be made. We will make any refunds due to you as soon as possible. If you are exercising your right to change your mind then:
7.6.1 If the products are goods and we have not offered to collect them, your refund will be made within 14 days from the day on which we receive the product back from you or, if earlier, the day on which you provide us with evidence that you have sent the product back to us. For information about how to return a product to us, see clause 8.2; or7.6.2 In all other cases, your refund will be made within 14 days of your telling us you have changed your mind.
7.7 Downloads from other providers We are not responsible for the digital products and downloads provided in records as a download card or any other delivery method other than through the Ochre system. Including failed or corrupt downloads, incorrect redemption codes or discontinued or broken download services.
Summary of your key legal rights
This is a summary of your key legal rights under UK law. These are subject to certain exceptions. For detailed information please visit the Citizens Advice website www.adviceguide.org.uk or call 03454 04 05 06.
If your product is goods, for example, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 says goods must be as described, fit for purpose and of satisfactory quality. During the expected life of your product your legal rights entitle you to the following:
- up to 30 days: if your item is faulty, then you can get a refund.
- up to six months: if your faulty item can't be repaired or replaced, then you're entitled to a full refund, in most cases.
- up to six years: if the item can be expected to last up to six years you may be entitled to a repair or replacement, or, if that doesn't work, some of your money back.If your product is digital content, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 says digital content must be as described, fit for purpose and of satisfactory quality:
- if the fault can't be fixed within a reasonable time, or without causing you significant inconvenience, you can get some or all of your money back
- if you can show the fault has damaged your device and we haven't used reasonable care and skill, you may be entitled to a repair or compensation*
8. Price and payment
8.1 Where to find the price for the product. The price of the product (which includes applicable VAT) will be the price indicated on the order pages when you placed your order. We take all reasonable care to ensure that the price of the product advised to you is correct. However please see clause 9.3 for what happens if we discover an error in the price of the product you order.
8.2 What happens if we got the price wrong. It is always possible that, despite our efforts, some of the products we sell may be incorrectly priced. We will normally check prices before accepting your order so that, where the product's correct price at your order date is less than our stated price at your order date, we will charge the lower amount. If the product's correct price at your order date is higher than the price stated, we will contact you for your instructions before we accept your order. If we accept and process your order where a pricing error is obvious and unmistakeable and could reasonably have been recognised by you as a mispricing, we may end the agreement, refund you any sums you have paid and require the return of any goods provided to you.
8.3 When you must pay and how you must pay. We accept payment with [all major credit and debit cards]. When you must pay depends on what product you are buying:
8.3.1 For goods, you must pay for the products before we dispatch them.8.3.2 For digital content, you must pay for the products before you download them. For digital pre-orders, we will take payment when you place the order.8.4 What to do if you think an invoice is wrong. If you think an invoice is wrong please contact us promptly to let us know.
9. Our responsibility for loss or damage suffered by you
9.1 We are responsible to you for foreseeable loss and damage caused by us. If we fail to comply with these terms, we are responsible for loss or damage you suffer that is a foreseeable result of our breaking this agreement or our failing to use reasonable care and skill, but we are not responsible for any loss or damage that is not foreseeable. Loss or damage is foreseeable if either it is obvious that it will happen or if, at the time the agreement was made, both we and you knew it might happen, for example, if you discussed it with us during the sales process.
9.2 If defective digital content which we have supplied damages a device or digital content belonging to you and this is caused by our failure to use reasonable care and skill we will either repair the damage or pay you compensation. However, we will not be liable for damage which you could have avoided by following our advice to apply an update offered to you free of charge or for damage which was caused by you failing to correctly follow installation instructions or to have in place the minimum system requirements advised by us.
9.3 We are not liable for business losses. We only supply the products for domestic and private use. If you use the products for any commercial, business or re-sale purpose we will have no liability to you for any loss of profit, loss of business, business interruption, or loss of business opportunity.
10. How we may use your personal information
11. Other important terms
11.1 We may transfer this agreement to someone else. We may transfer our rights and obligations under these terms to another organisation. We will always tell you in writing if this happens and we will ensure that the transfer will not affect your rights under the agreement. If you are unhappy with the transfer you may contact us to end the agreement within 14 days of us telling you about it and we will refund you any payments you have made in advance for products not provided.
11.2 You need our consent to transfer your rights to someone else (except that you can always transfer our guarantee). You may only transfer your rights or your obligations under these terms to another person if we agree to this in writing.
11.3 Nobody else has any rights under this agreement. This agreement is between you and us. No other person shall have any rights to enforce any of its terms. Neither of us will need to get the agreement of any other person in order to end the agreement or make any changes to these terms.
11.4 If a court finds part of this agreement illegal, the rest will continue in force. Each of the paragraphs of these terms operates separately. If any court or relevant authority decides that any of them are unlawful, the remaining paragraphs will remain in full force and effect.
11.5 Even if we delay in enforcing this agreement, we can still enforce it later. If we do not insist immediately that you do anything you are required to do under these terms, or if we delay in taking steps against you in respect of your breaking this agreement, that will not mean that you do not have to do those things and it will not prevent us taking steps against you at a later date. For example, if you miss a payment and we do not chase you but we continue to provide the products, we can still require you to make the payment at a later date.
11.6 Which laws apply to this agreement and where you may bring legal proceedings. These terms are governed by English law and you can bring legal proceedings in respect of the products in the English courts. If you live in Scotland you can bring legal proceedings in respect of the products in either the Scottish or the English courts. If you live in Northern Ireland you can bring legal proceedings in respect of the products in either
section1 is a newly launched label in partnership with Partisan. section1 is the brainchild of Brontë Jane (VP of A&R at Third Side Music) alongside Chris Robbins and Tom Wironen of Friendly Announcer management (Big Thief, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Westerman, etc). Hildegard will be the first release on section1; more news on additional section1 releases to be announced soon.
Partisan Records is a member of Knitting Factory Entertainment. Knitting Factory Records is its sister label and the same team are responsible for releasing its catalogue and new titles.