Dobet Gnahoré: Na Drê


Voice of a Continent

Listening Post 26. As a singer-songwriter, percussionist, choreographer and dancer, Dobet Gnahoré brings life experience to her music. In the Ki-Yi Mbock Company, a theater ensemble and training village in her native Côte d’Ivoire, she encountered artists and musical styles from across Africa. Her country endured a decade of upheaval that twice forced her to seek refuge in France. Na Drê (My Heart), her fourth album, focuses on the burdens and joys of African women and their role in pushing their families and nations forward. With a voice that is confident and tender, passionate and melodic, Gnahoré sings in a variety of West and Central African languages, in addition to French, English and Haitian Creole. The title track is a gentle song about a love whose name she doesn’t know: “I’m alone in my bed, imagining you, feeling you,” she intones in the Bété language, “I lose my head and sleep eludes me (video 1). Baara (Work), performed in Maninka, is an anthem to progress: “For the future of our children, for the success of our continent/Work even when all hope is lost/We must have courage” (video 2). Other tracks spotlight poverty, misgovernance, an abused woman, an arranged marriage and the dream of a peaceful day. A worthy disciple of Miriam Makeba, Dobet Gnahoré sings for a better Africa with beauty and force. (Contre-Jour)



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