Bombino turns Silverlake into Sahara Desert at Zebulon

I first saw Bombino at Coachella 2014 and was immediately wowed by his guitar prowess. On Tuesday night, the man from Niger headlined a show at the Zebulon Cafe in Silverlake.

Touring in support of his latest album Deran, Bombino’s return to Los Angeles was met with lots of excitement. It was quite a diverse crowd of people — there were those in African garbs as well as Silverlake’s usual hipster crowd.

His latest album was the first he recorded in Africa in almost a decade. He’s undergone so much strife, being exhiled from his homeland multiple times due to conflicts.

Bombino sang in his native Tamasheq, giving Los Angeles a taste of some of the most successful modern world music currently out there. His music would have lined up nicely with the heat wave LA just underwent a few weeks ago.

Bombino and his band seemed truly at home on stage and the crowd was always moving along to his riffs. His brand of desert blues is very accessible, even to those who don’t consider themselves world music fans.

Draped in a Djellaba and white shawl, Bombino truly brought the feel of the Sahara Desert to Silverlake.

If you ever get a chance to see whom many consider the world’s best guitarist, don’t blow it.

Words by Mark Ortega
Photos by Monique Hernandez