Habib & Dobet
I just realized that I have not shared my love of Habib Koite with you folks yet!! It's even more shocking because I went to a concert of his and Dobet Gnahoré last night and to say that it was awesome is a gross understatement!!!
Last week, while gathering information on Dobet, I found out that she was going to be in town* and immediately bought tickets in part as a birthday present for a fellow Liberian friend of mine who I knew would love this type of performance and in part because I would have been an idiot not to attend such musical goodness.
I'll start off with Habib Koite performance. The headliner of the night came out in full effect! All band members decked-out in mud-cloth outfits and when the music started you knew they were going to bring it! Each and every musician in this band is incredible on their own and together they make unbelievably beautiful music. Playing a minimum of 2 instruments each, they keep they engaged with each song, especially Koite with his guitar skills. Although not every song was danceable, half-way through the performance everyone in the auditorium was up on their feet, swaying to whatever beat their bodies could find. Mr. Koite is not one for a lot of words and after a slight foot-in-mouth moment, he stuck to woeing with crowd with his voice and wicked smile.
While she was not the headliner of the show, Dobet really blew me away. Before you even saw her, you heard her incredible voice coming from behind the stage. No instruments, no other sound, just amazing voice. Despite her lack of comfort with English, she was all about a little Fren-glish to get the crowd singing with her and laughing at jokes. When you weren't engaging with her, your jaw was on the floor watching her dance moves. I mean, this women is a pint-size of power!!! You can tell that for her, their is no disconnect between singing and dancing. She would dance across stage and come back to the mic to sing as if she wasn't even close to being out of breath!
The most amazing part of the entire event was the fact that you didn't need to understand a single word in order to be moved from your dancing feet straight to your soul. Coming from different backgrounds and styles of music (Koite - Mali; Dobet - Ivory Coast), these musician showcase all that is beautiful, diverse and inspiring about Africa.
*Thanks so much Jacqui!