Dobet Gnahoré: Couleur

Into the Rainbow

Listening Post 322. The magic in The Wizard of Oz begins when a tornado wrenches Dorothy from her home in sepia-toned Kansas and drops her into a Technicolor universe. Something similar happens with Couleur (Color), Dobet Gnahoré’s sixth album, an exploration of women’s empowerment that emerges not from a fictional whirlwind but a worldwide crisis. Gnahoré, the first Grammy winner from Côte d’Ivoire, has spent the better part of 20 years commuting between France and her homeland but decided to ride out the pandemic and performing hiatus in Abidjan, the metropolis where her career began, refreshing her music’s roots, connecting with a new generation of local artists and taking ample time to compose. Aside from her flamboyant wardrobe, the album’s colors sprout in a garden of musical styles: Traditional, modern, urban, Afro-pop, and smooth electronic sounds that preserve the acoustic richness of her early recordings. The hues multiply in her luxurious vocals, magnetic stage presence, stunning dance moves and lyrics in five of her country’s 72 languages, plus French and English—all in service to an upbeat message for young African women about taking control of their lives. She offers an exhilarating anthem of emancipation in Yakané (Today’s Girls, video 1), and emphasizes the importance of family in Ma Maison (My House, video 2). Though she exudes confidence, she invokes faith and divine mercy in Rédemption (video 3) and warns against self-defeating behavior in Jalouse (video 4). Echoing the artist’s childhood resolve—not to mention Dorothy’s pluck—Lève-toi (Get Up, video 5), prescribes determination in the face of adversity. At her peak, Gnahoré is still working on what she calls her “Ivoirité” and paying her success forward: In Abidjan she opened her own recording studio and started a music label for young singers. On her cinematic opus she takes us not over the rainbow but through it. (Cumbancha)

Related post. Dobet Gnahoré: Na Drê, Listening Post 26, December 22, 2015. https://worldlisteningpost.com/2015/12/22/dobet-gnahore-na-dre/

Dobet Gnahoré: Couleur / Color
Dobet Gnahoré: Vocals, chorus
Yabongo Lova: Vocals
Nafasi: Vocals
Makoleking: Chorus
Attébé Mirelle Linda: Chorus
Colin Laroche de Féline: Guitar
Julien Pestre: Guitar
Louis Stephen Djirabou (Pheni le Magicien): Guitar
Romy N’guessan: Bass
Sangaré Siriki: Peul flute

Tam Sir Junior Yihe: Arrangements

 

Yakané / Today’s Girls
(Dobet Gnahoré / Colin Laroche de Féline / Tam Sir Junior Yihe Ngo Njock)

(From the lyrics in Dida and French)
The time when the man was in charge of the woman has passed
Today the world is changing in favor of women
The independence of women is today

Ho lobo, today
Ho lobo, today

Gone are the days when a woman relied solely on her husband
Today, man and woman, are in the race for the evolution of society
Gone are the days when the man only chose a woman for her cooking skills
Women have a big place in the world

A woman brings up her children and works with a smile and beauty
Today, women also make political decisions
Today, it has been proven that women can become president
The woman is part of the world

Ho lobo, today

 

Ma Maison / My House
(Dobet Gnahoré / Colin Laroche de Féline / Tam Sir Junior Yihe Ngo Njock)

(From the lyrics in French and Dioula)
Hooooooo hoooooooo
In front of my house, a rooted tree
My father carries within him the love of our lineage

My family is my source of life, our hearts are in harmony
My family resonates within me, our hearts beat in emotion, this rhythm is my joy

It’s joy in my house, it’s love on the horizon
It is the peace that unites us, we are there without jealousy

Hee, I’ll dance my joy, hee, I’ll sing my faith
No one will take away these joys, it’s a moment of sweetness

In front of my house, a rooted tree
My father carries within him the love of our lineage

My family, is my source of life, our hearts are in harmony
My family resonates within me, our hearts beat in emotion, this rhythm is my joy

It’s joy in my house, it’s love on the horizon
It is the peace that unites us, we are there without jealousy

Heee, I’ll dance my joy, I’ll sing my faith
I will sing my faith

 

Rédemption/ Redemption
(Dobet Gnahoré / Colin Laroche de Féline / Tam Sir Junior Yihe Ngo Njock)

(From the lyrics in Bété and French)
My father, forgive me
I took a long time to come to you, forgive me
Hoo, my God don’t forget me, don’t leave me in suffering
My father, my king, my father, my king
My king, my king, redeemer redeemer

I have judged, accused, lied, cheated, beaten and even stolen
I know I’m not perfect
Worry, anger, fear, resentment took hold of me
Because I forgot you

My savior, don’t forget me
Save me from my troubles
My savior, forgive me, forgive me
My king, my king, redeemer redeemer

Hi hi hi ya hi hi ya hi hi hi ya hi hi hi ya
I have judged, accused, lied, cheated, beaten and even stolen
I know I’m not perfect, no no no no
Worry, anger, fear, resentment took hold of me
Because I forgot you
My king, my king, redeemer, redeemer

 

Jalouse / Jealous
Dobet Gnahoré / Colin Laroche de Féline / Tam Sir Junior Yihe Ngo Njock)

(From the lyrics in Adjukou and French)
You scream from the rooftops, he’s mine/You are possessive and suffocating
You call him all the time out of jealousy/You spend all your time watching him
Your love for him makes you blind/You’ve lost your friends for fear they would take him from you
He feels squeezed, pressured/You might lose him if you keep going like this

Jealous, jealous, jealous, breathe a little
Jealous, jealous, jealous, sit down for a bit

Make yourself love more instead of suffocating him/Be an independent woman, occupy your day
Cultivate yourself, be modern and a model/Behind a great man is a great woman

He will never tell you, he will just leave/Stop being afraid, stop with your jealousy
Being in love is magic/Be careful, you will lose him

Jealous, jealous, jealous, breathe a little
Jealous, jealous, jealous, sit down for a bit

 

Lève-toi / Get Up (feat. Yabongo Lova)
(Dobet Gnahoré / Franck Michel Bially / Colin Laroche de Féline / Tam Sir Junior Yihe Ngo Njock)

(From the lyrics in French and Bété)
Even if it is difficult, come on, come on, hoo, get up/God is strong, you will make it, get up
Nothing comes without effort, get up/Even in the hard times, get up
Tomorrow will be, tomorrow will be, tomorrow will be better, get up

Please, don’t give up
Please live a good life

If you think others are better than you, get up/Even if it is difficult, come on, come on, get up
God is strong, don’t give up/When all hope is gone, ooh, get up
Tomorrow will be, tomorrow will be, tomorrow will be better, get up

Please, don’t give up
Please live a good life

If you don’t get up, you’ll get nothing/The mother of children, come see, the procreator, come see
It just means, you have to get up/Tomorrow is yours, but it’s up to you to do well

Even if it is difficult, come on, come on, get up/Brother, even if it is a drag, get up
Nothing comes without effort, get up/Those who give up never find joy
Tomorrow will be, tomorrow will be, tomorrow will be better, get up

It will be fine/You have to listen when I call you
Get up, you go to work/Get up, you will become somebody
Please, please, get up when I call you

 


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