February's Feature: Dobet Gnahore
Given my love for soulful African music, it was no surprise that I was in awe to find out that the beautiful Dobet Gnahore was performing here in Los Angeles on February 18th at Cal State LA's intimate venue: the Luckman Theatre.
Dobet Gnahore is an Ivoirienne based singer, dancer and percussionist. Originally from the Bété tribe, she carries the teaching of her ancestors throughout her art.
Drummer Mike Dibo opened up the show with a beautiful solo. The drum signifying the heartbeat of any song warmed us up for what was to come. Minutes later Dobet Gnahore, followed with guitarists Valess Assouan and Julien Pestre came.
Dobet Gnahore partook in everything, literally, there were instruments laying by the side of her mic just so she would have easy access to it during her show. Her band moved the crowd while her angelical voice spoke to our soul. Occasionally, she would bust out a few traditional African dance move to keep us on our feet. At one point during her performance, she asked the audience to join her. We all came to the stage dancing, singing and laughing it was so much fun.
Her art took us through every emotion, from songs dedicated to domestic violence and African politics to songs dedicated to love, and fun. As she reached her last song and walked off stage, we all started yelling encore! encore! not quite ready to let them go. Sure enough, after several minutes of begging for one last song Dobet and the band came back ending the show with a beautiful, soft soothing song.
Later that night my friend and I were invited to the after show dinner, which included Dobet, the band, and their manager. The intimate dinner was filled with laughters; the whole band had my stomach hurting; from making fun of the fact that I am a vegetarian to mocking my friend for crying after meeting her biggest inspiration (Dobet Gnahore of course). I felt like I was back in Ivory Coast, what a wonderful spirit they all have. I'll be sure to catch them the next time they are in town. But for those who are interested, they still have a few more states to go to before the end of the tour. See the flyer attach below for her next show in a city near you.