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Monday, July 22, 2013

BAM R&B Festival at MetroTech Preview:

By Robert Wood

The BAM R&B Festival at MetroTech—BAM's free summertime showcase of heavy hitters from R&B, reggae, funk, and other genres—runs this year through August 8, with concerts happening (almost) every Thursday at noon. That means lunchtime for most, so for the full MetroTech experience, we suggest bringing takeout from a nearby restaurant and making an afternoon (or a long lunch break) out of it. Check back every week for these previews, which will also suggest appropriate eats to enjoy along with the music, and pigeons, in Downtown Brooklyn.

Thu, Jul 25 at 12pm
MetroTech Commons | map

In a nutshell:
Superstar Niger-born guitarist in the vein of the great Ali Farke Touré

West African blues rock

What to Know:
Bombino’s latest album was produced by Black Keys front man Dan Auerbach, which in many ways makes perfect sense. Bombino’s “desert blues” guitar is gritty, up front, and immensely expressive, not unlike Auerbach’s own sound. But their backgrounds are surely different: Bombino is one of 17 brothers and sisters and a member of North Africa’s perpetually exiled Taureg ethnic group, for whom the guitar has long been associated with songs supporting their various rebellions. You can hear that determination in Bombino’s music, which glimmers like a blade in the desert sun.

You might like them if you like:
Tinawariwen, Ali Farke Touré, Vieux Farka Touré

Appropriateness for getting down / getting it on:
70% / 30%

What to do about lunch: 
Eat your usual baloney and cheese sandwich and defer your culinary homage to Bombino until the next time you're on the beach. Taguella is a thick crèpe that Taureg people have traditionally baked in makeshift ovens made from hot Sahara sand. Could there be a more fascinating example of a food's intimate relationship to the land? Here's a recipe, courtesy of

2.2 lbs. of millet flour, coarsely sifted
Roughly 9 oz. of water
Large pinch of salt
Large enamel bowl

Mix together the millet flour and water in the enamel bowl. Add the pinch of salt. Knead the dough, flattening it into a disc.

Dig a low, shallow hole in the desert. Build a low fire from wood and charcoal in the hole.

Place the dough directly in the fire’s ashes. Scrape the surface with a plant stalk hot from the fire to keep the surface clean from sand.

Cover the dough with hot sand and small charcoal from the fire.

To check the dough’s temperature, poke it with a stick. If it’s soft, it still needs to cook.

Let the dough bake for about 20 minutes.

Turn the dough over, cover it again with hot sand and charcoal and let it bake for another 20 minutes.

Take the bread out of the oven. To get rid of the sand, shake the bread or sprinkle it with water.

Then, break into small pieces and serve.


  1. Nomad is one of my favorites this year so far. When you read about Bombino's story, it is really interesting to see how life can take you in all sorts of interesting directions. Cool interview with him here:

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