A case could be made that the Sahara Desert is the new home of the blues. At the very least, this dry, sandy, vast landscape is home to some of the most exciting music in the world today. There is now a recognized genre of music coming from this region of Africa—Desert Blues. Several bands among the nomadic Tuareg people have blended traditional indigenous musical styles with the electric guitar to create a fusion that has found an audience worldwide. I came upon the best known of these Tuareg groups a few years ago. Tinariwen‘s 2007 album Aman Iman blew me away. Their musical skills are undeniable. The passion is visceral. It stands up well with any of the best blues-rock coming out of the Mississippi Delta.

I was excited to discover this week another Tuareg musician, Bombino. His guitar skills have been compared to that of Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page. His new album, Nomad, is incredible. I highly recommend it.