World Music artist Dobet Gnahore’ has seen quite a number of highs in her professional career. From her pre-teen years through her adult life, she has entertained people around the world, had her own group – Ano Neko – and released five albums of her own. She has even worked with famed superstar India.Arie on her Grammy® Award-winning song ‘Pearls.’ Along with all of that, she has also seen the downside of the music industry in recent years, losing her record label, management, music publisher, and booking agent. Add in the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this still very young singer/performer has seen just as much negative in her life as positive. Yet even with all of the negative that has impacted her career and life, Gnahore’ has not allowed any of it to stop her. Instead she has persevered and pushed on with a new album that is scheduled for release next week. Couleur, which is French for “Color,” is scheduled for release Friday through Cumbancha. The 12-song record is certain to generate plenty of interest in part because of its featured musical arrangements. They will be discussed shortly. The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements do their own share to generate interest and engagement among listeners. This will be discussed a little later. The sequencing of that content rounds out the most important of the record’s elements. It will also be discussed later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of album’s presentation. All things considered, they make the album a work that is certain to be one of the most talked about records among this year’s new World Music offerings.
Dobet Gnahore’s forthcoming album Couleur is a presentation that is certain to generate a lot of interest among World Music fans this year. That is due in part to its featured musical arrangements. The arrangements in question are anything but what audiences might expect when they hear or read the term “World Music.” From beginning to end, Gnahore’ offers audiences arrangements that would fit in with any mainstream Top 40 pop radio programmer’s play list here in the United States and elsewhere. There are steady, 2/4 dance-encouraging works throughout, such as in the album’s closer, ‘Mi Pradjo,’ ‘’Woman,’ and ‘Vis Ta Vie’ (which roughly translates to ‘Live Your Life’) featured here. There are also more general pop style works in songs, such as ‘Jalouse,’ (which translates to ‘Jealous’), ‘Wazii’ (translated, it means ‘Think’), and ‘Ma Maison’ (‘My House’). The album also features songs that mix Gnahore’s own influences with some more Western influence for works in whole are unique in and of themselves. Keeping all of this in mind along with the presentations in the album’s other musical arrangements, the whole of that content makes for plenty of reason in itself for audiences to hear this record at least once. It is just a portion of what makes this record stand out among this year’s new World Music offerings. The album’s lyrical content proves just as important to its presentation.
The lyrical content featured throughout the album’s 40-minute presentation is important to address because of its socially conscious nature. The topics that Gnahore’ addresses are relevant to audiences around the world. The matter of gender equality shows up at least twice in the album in ‘Yakane,’ ‘Woman,’ and ‘Mon Epoque’ (‘My Era’). In the case of ‘Woman,’ Gnahore works to encourage women everywhere to take pride in themselves as well as their bodies. This in itself is key for every woman around the world. In the case of ‘Yakane,’ she proudly sings about the growth of women’s place in the world, noting, “The time when the man was in charge of the woman has passed/Today the world is changing in favor of women/The independence of women is today.” There is no ambiguity here. This is a message that will resonate with any woman. ‘Mon Epoque’ is very similar in its message. The message here is essentially that “I am woman, hear me roar” message, as she openly says “I live in my era/Now free/In charge/A woman of today/I see a man that I like/I tell him/I want to know him/and then that’s it/And I cry out/Man, I love you, man/And I cry out/Man, I want to know you/I want to know you only one night.” Now that final comment is pretty strong. This is a woman who is saying she is her own individual. That is a pretty bold statement that is sure to put a smile on any woman’s face. That is because it is a woman who is confident in herself, including in her own sexuality.
Of course, Gnahore’’s feminist views are not the only commentary that she offers up. She also offers a message of encouragement and hope in ‘Leve-Toi.’ This song finds her telling listeners, “Please don’t give up/Please, live a good life” after also telling listeners that “God is strong/You will make it/Get up.” The song in general follows this central approach and theme. It is certain to resonate, again, with any listener. On a similar note, Gnahore’ encourages people to be careful as to who they trust in life in ‘Vis Ta Vie.’ She sings here, “Don’t talk/Don’t brag about your life/Not all ears are clean/Beware of the congassa/Beware of the kpakpato/They will want to take advantage of you/They will tell you stories/Beware of the kpakpato/Beware of the jealous.” This message is as straight forward as any of the album’s other messages. It is yet another message that will resonate with any listener.
As if all of the items noted are not enough, Gnahore’ also pays tribute to families in this record. That tribute comes in the form ‘Ma Maison.’ She sings here about the joy that family brings, the importance of one’s roots, and the importance of one’s connection to one’s family in general. It is just one more example of how the lyrical content featured in this record proves so important to the album’s presentation. When this accessible message, the others examined here and the rest of the album’s content is considered in whole along with the album’s musical arrangements, the whole makes the album that much stronger in its presentation.
There is no question that the collective content featured in this record is hugely important to its engagement and enjoyment. While it is unquestionably important to the record’s presentation, it is just a portion of what makes the album worth hearing. The sequencing of that content brings everything together and completes the album’s presentation. The sequencing keeps the record’s energy stable from start to end, ensuring it remains relatively mid-tempo, just up-tempo enough. At the same time, it also ensures the stylistic approaches and sounds change from one song to the next, keeping things interesting for listeners in that aspect, too. The same applies to the record’s lyrical content. The sequencing keeps that changing throughout, too. Taking that into account, the album’s sequencing shows clear thought into that aspect, too. When the impact of the album’s sequencing is considered along with that of the album’s overall content, the whole makes the album in whole a unique addition to this year’s field of new World Music offerings.
Dobet Gnahore’s forthcoming new album, Couleur is a presentation that despite being a World Music offering, is a presentation that is clearly not limited to audiences of said genre. It is in fact an interesting record that is just as much pop as it is World Music. It just happens to be from an artist from another nation. That is proven in part through its musical arrangements. The arrangements in question are just as accessible as anything that American Top 40 pop stations play daily. They are that accessible. The lyrical content that accompanies the record’s musical arrangements add to the album’s appeal. That is because it touches on topics that are accessible to any listener, regardless of their nationality. It does this by touching on socially aware topics, such as gender equality, family, and simply living life among so much more. What’s more, the fashion in which the messages are delivered is just as accessible as the themes themselves. This adds even more to the record’s appeal. The sequencing of all of that content rounds out the album’s most important elements. It ensures the content in question changes constantly even as the songs’ energy remains relatively stable throughout. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation. All things considered, they make Couleur the most unique of this year’s new World Music offerings so far.
Couleur is scheduled for release Friday through Cumbancha. More information on Couleur is available along with all of Dobet Gnahore’’s latest news at:
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