Dobet Gnahore Biography

1983, Côte D’Ivoire. Raised amid the musical traditions of the Bété people of Côte D’Ivoire, Gnahoré was especially influenced by her father, Boni Gnahoré, a noted West African performing artist. She worked with the Pan African Ki-Yi Mbock Company, located at an artist’s village near the nation’s capital, Abidjan. There she studied singing and percussion as well as drama and dance. Languages used in the region draw from many parts of the African continent and include dida, guéré, wolof, malinké, xosha, fon and lingala. Awareness of these forms and her ability to sing in them helped Gnahoré establish a reputation in West Africa. She then spread awareness of her talent to Europe, including playing in the Netherlands as well as Liverpool, England, Geneva, Switzerland, and Osnabrueck, Germany, before visiting the USA as part of the 2006 Putumayo Acoustic Africa touring package with Habib Koité, which performed at a number of venues including the Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, California, and Seattle’s Jazz Alley.

Singing in a distinctive manner and displaying a strong and melodically secure vocal style, Gnahoré has a dynamic and visually striking stage presence that enhances her vocal appeal. Musicians with whom Gnahoré has worked include bass player Nabil Mehrezi, percussionist Miko Dibo, guitarist Colin Laroche de Féline (to whom she is married), and singer Sibongile Mbambo, as well as her percussionist father. To escape a period of social and political unrest in Côte D’Ivoire, Gnahoré resides in Marseilles, France.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.