Dobet Gnahore,
Na Afriki
(Cumbancha, 2007)

Na Afriki is an appealing CD from Dobet Gnahore of Ivory Coast. On her second release, this 24-year-old has the energy and spirit of the best African performers. She sings with a variety of emotions, softly or powerfully, communicating each of the 15 tracks in a different way.

Her songs are powered by polyrhythms and most have call-and-response female singing. Some of the other singers take the lead vocals in a few spots.

Her guitarist and partner, Colin Laroche de Feline, is from France, but he has mastered the sound of Afropop, playing with a light, rhythmic touch that complements Gnahore's voice. The mixture of French and African musicians on this CD work together seamlessly, folding in a number of melodic and rhythmic elements.

None of the vocals are in English. The varied languages used are Dida and Guere (Ivory Coast), Wolof (Senegal), Malinke (Mali), Xhosa (South Africa), Fon (Benin), Lingala (Congo) and Arabic.

There is an excellent CD booklet with translations for all the lyrics into both English and French. They have meaningful topics, about women, grief, children, love, war and even incest.

Although this is not a live CD, the booklet shows a number of pictures of Gnahore in concert. She appears to be a dynamic performer, something that is evident from this highly recommended disc.

review by
Dave Howell

26 April 2008

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