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. 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.
In 2003, their artistic project refocused on Dobet Gnahoré and expanded when a backup vocalist and a percussionist joined them. This was when the Contre Jour label produced her first album entitled Ano Neko, making the link with Dobet and Colin’s evolving musical history. Ano Neko contains songs recorded in Abidjan and others recorded in Belgium during the summer of 2003.
From Mandingue melodies to Congolese rumba, from Ivory Coast Ziglibiti to Cameroon Bikoutsi, from Ghanian High-Life to Zulu choirs, their compositions, carried along with jazz-like sounds, are varied and colorful. The sanza, the balafon, the calebasse and bongos are brought in to support the guitar, the vocal backup and Dobet’s warm and powerful voice.
Dobet, who won the BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music 2006 “Best Newcomer”, made her North American debut in the fall of 2006 in Putumayo Presents: Acoustic Africa, alongside Habib Koite and Vusi Mahlasela. In 2010 Dobet Gnahoré won the Grammy for Best Urban/Alternative Performance for the song “Pearls” in collaboration with India.Arie.