Dobet Gnahore is an African woman that words can't describe. Her strong and passionate presence just draws you in. She appears wild and rebellious - but at the same time radiates a profound dignity and grace.
Dare to watch and to listen to this queen - she will conquer you for good!
(Here, you'll find more of Dobet's videos with song lyrics: Issa, Djiguene)
The first time I saw her live was in 2007 in Accra, Ghana. The smallish audience didn't know what to expect from an unknown artist with a $5 gate fee. But Dobet delivered a performance that was worth $100!
Completely amazed and in awe, we hung on her every move and sound for two hours. The concert left me feeling empowered and puzzled for weeks: Who and what on earth was that!?
Dobet was born in the Ivory Coast. Her father Boni Gnahore is a respected master drummer, singer, actor and the founding member of an unusual village: the artist colony "Ki-Yi M'Bock". This is where young Dobet grew up.
Now, imagine your 12-year-old daughter declaring she would stop school and devote her life to music! Dobet did exactly that, and her father knew there was no way to change her mind. So, she spent the following years in the village with artists from all over Africa and learned their dances, songs and music.
In 1996, she met Colin Laroche de Féline. The young French guitarist just showed up at the village to play with the artists. But he immediately fell in love with the place, and with Dobet, and stayed for three years.
The two formed a duet called Ano-Neko and became inseparable on stage and in life. In 1999, they moved to France to raise their child and started to perfom at festivals.
I love Dobet's music because it inspires in so many ways. She sings about things that are in the heart of a young African woman and mother: The joys and sorrows of love, the struggle of women, the raising of children, incest and greed in families.
You may not understand the various African languages she sings in, but you will get the message anyway: Her performance and warm voice are so full of heart, passion, energy and soul, that you just can't help but feel with her.
She mixes various African music styles in funky dance tunes and in ballads that give you goose bumps. Her band, with her husband on the acoustic guitar, is just as impressive.
She's accompanied by Western instruments, but every song holds a little African surprise: Traditional percussion instruments like talking drums, udu drums or her cat-like dances.
Dobet Gnahore will be star. You will definitely hear from her again. Is it worth buying her albums or a concert ticket? Don't ask - go grab it!
What do you think about Dobet?