December 21, 2017

Dobet Gnahoré

Dobet Gnahoré, singer, dancer and percussionist from the Ivory Coast, inherited the force of the “Bété“ tradition from her father, Boni Gnahoré,  master percussionist .who appears with the Abidjan-based Ki-Yi Mbock Company (meaning “Ultimate Knowledge” in Bassa) a famous 50 person co operative village within Abidjan

It was within this Ivory Coast-based company that Dobet met French guitarist Colin Laroche de Féline, who went there to immerse himself in African melodies and rhythms.

Having spent some time in the well-known Tché Tché dance company, Dobet decided with Colin (in 1999) to form a duo, Ano Neko, which means “Let’s create together“ in Bété language. The duo toured widely in France (1999-2000)

When they returned to Abidjan in 2001, they took part in MASA Off (festival) where they were the centre of attention and, while they were there, they recorded eight songs under the supervision of the late Marcellin Yacé.

In 2003, their artistic project refocused on Dobet Gnahoré and expanded when a backup vocalist and a percussionist joined them.  Contre Jour Label (long time home to  Habib Koite and many others) took charge of Dobet’s  career and produced her first album entitled “Ano Neko“, making the link with Dobet and Colin Laroche’s story. This CD comprises songs mainly recorded in Abidjan during the summer of 2003. She released “Na Afriki” (2007), “Djekpa La You” (2010) and Na Drê (2014)

From Mandingue melodies to Congolese rumba, from Ivory Coast Ziglibiti to Cameroon Bikoutsi, from Ghanian High-Life to Zulu choirs, their compositions, carried along with jazz-like sounds, are varied and colourful. The sanza, the balafon, the calebasse and bongos are brought in to support the guitar, the vocal backup and Dobet’s warm and powerful voice…

Dobet sings in a range of African languages including Bété, Fon, Baoule, Lingala, Malinke, Mina or Bambara, thereby reproducing the Pan-African tradition of the Ki Yi Mbock group.

On stage, her voice, her charisma and her huge presence, the result of several  years theatrical and choreographic taining, brings ecstatic audience approval. This is evidenced by the Venues that have hosted this illustrious performer in The USA and all across Europe….in the UK alone she has appeared at WOMAD, Kings Place, Africa Oye, Rich Mix and Union Chapel.

Her New Album “Miziki” for Spring 2018 release will bring her even further into the spotlight.