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World - Released May 4, 2018 | Café de la Danse - LA Café

Distinctions Songlines Five-star review
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World - Released June 4, 2021 | Cumbancha

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Typically, when a musician re-emerges from a period of reflection, their new work tends to be introspective and somewhat moody. Whether it's creative, professional, or romantic struggles, the process of working through such turmoil often yields art that goes dark and deep, mirroring the spiritual strife endured by the artist. Not so for singer Dobet Gnahoré. Having moved from her birthplace in Côte d'Ivoire to Marseilles to escape civil war when she was just 17, Gnahoré launched her music career in the early 2000s and found tremendous success not just in France, but also across the African continent and throughout the U.S. and Europe. That global recognition reached its apex in 2010, when she won a Grammy for Best Urban/Alternative Performance for "Pearls," her soulful collaboration with India.Arie. Recently though, despite consistent touring success, Gnahoré split with much of the business and creative network she had worked with throughout the years, leaving her without a band, a label, or even a manager. And then came COVID-19. Lesser artists would likely retreat completely and just call their career done, while others would become relentlessly cynical and bitter. Gnahoré, however, has treated these undeniable setbacks as an opportunity to rediscover the joy in her art. Back at home in Côte d'Ivoire since the first COVID lockdowns, the singer says that she found inspiration from the younger generation of musicians and producers making waves throughout West Africa. And no, on her sixth album, Gnahoré isn't making any rap dogba, but Couleur is an album that's much brighter and energetic than the more genteel, midtempo work she's most known for. Still possessed of the remarkably rich and expressive voice that powered so many of those polished, soulful songs, Gnahoré is applying it to songs like "Yakané," a funky and propulsive song boosted by gorgeous multitracked harmonies. Likewise, the positive vibes that course through the album are most pronounced on "Lève-toi" ("Get Up"), a light, danceable tune rooted in an explicit exhortation to move beyond the bad times and focus on what comes next. Alternating between similarly direct lyrics ("Woman" is about, you guessed it, women's rights), autobiographical ones ("Mi Pradjô" laments a lonely life on the road), and more imagistic ones (the beautiful "Zaliguéhi"), the one thing all these songs have in common is the unapologetically joyous attitude at their heart. Even when addressing serious issues, Gnahoré's approach is loving and positive; it even comes through on a more gentle and contemplative number like "Rédemption," where rather than wallowing in her misfortune, the singer is eyeing the opportunities that come with rebirth. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz
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Africa - Released March 6, 2010 | Contre-Jour

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Africa - Released March 17, 2014 | Contre-Jour

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Africa - Released July 13, 2004 | Contre-Jour

It's all a bit too neat and glossy. All the rough edges that could have given Dobet Gnahore's album some life and real human quality have been carefully rubbed away, leaving instead the kind of studio sheen that used to be associated with California rather than the Ivory Coast. Yes, she can sing well enough, and emote in the right places, but it all seems too predetermined and bloodless, rather than inspired. Everything is tasteful and precise, down to the spare backing and the exquisitely arranged harmonies, but there's no sense of any real emotion involved. Even Gnahore herself sounds like an actor just going through the motions. There's potential in her, but it'll need something much rawer than this to bring it out. © Chris Nickson /TiVo
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World - Released April 2, 2021 | Cumbancha

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World - Released March 5, 2021 | Cumbancha

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World - Released March 5, 2021 | Cumbancha

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World - Released January 23, 2021 | DJOLI PRODUCTION

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World - Released April 2, 2021 | Cumbancha

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World - Released May 7, 2021 | Cumbancha

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World - Released April 20, 2018 | Café de la Danse - LA Café

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World - Released April 6, 2018 | Café de la Danse - LA Café

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World - Released February 14, 2018 | Café de la Danse - LA Café

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World - Released May 7, 2021 | Cumbancha

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