Dobet Gnahoré in Nairobi, Kenya
“It’s because Dobet is so passionate, possesses such powerful, vital and bubbling energy, is so impatient but also has such appeal and introspection. And the question rapidly arises as to how to resist the force and diversity of her intonation, which is sometimes solemn and intense but at other times piercing and strident…”
Dobet Gnahoré, a singer, dancer and percussionist from the Ivory Coast, inherited the force of the “Bété” tradition from her father, Boni Gnahoré, a master percussionist who plays with the Abidjan-based Ki-Yi Mbock Company, directed by Werewere Liking. 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, after being introduced to them by Toroma Sika in France.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 the Bété language. The duo toured widely in France (1999-2000) where they settled temporarily following the instability that unfortunately struck the Ivory Coast.
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 presence, the result of several years theatrical and choreographic work, has immense audience appeal.