Kammou Taliat (You, My Beloved) — Bombino

From its very first striking guitar notes, Omara ‘Bombino’ Moctar’s Kammou Taliat (You, My Beloved) crackles with ecstatic joy. From his 2011 album, Agadez, Bombino’s distinct Tuareg music welded to the electric guitar kicks up a sandstorm while conjuring up the deceptive serenity of the desert.

The contrapuntal melody, its notes flowing and counter-flowing back on themselves, builds up this love song to a gentle frenzy. Bombino’s voice, as it joins the swirling, repeating lilt of the guitar, brings with it a gossamer joy, the reverb amplifying this vastness.

The lyrics are in Tamasheq, the North African language spoken by Berbers. And, yet, Bombino breaks down this barrier with sheer emotive singing that is magically underwhelming and overwhelming at the same time. You instinctively understand what he is singing: ‘You, my lover/ Know that I keep you in my heart/ True love deep in my heart links us forever/ Everywhere I go, I think about you.’

But it is Bombino’s divine guitar play, on his Cort KX-Custom electric, that sets ‘Kammou Taliat’ apart like some ravishing flower blooming in the sands.


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