Dobet Gnahore | Maurer Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music | International | Chicago Reader

Dobet Gnahore Recommended All Ages Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Image

When: Sat., Jan. 10, 8 p.m. 2015

Dobet Gnahoré was born and raised in the Ivory Coast, but she’s spent the last 15 years in France—and with every new record she drifts farther from her roots. Her new album, Na Drê (Contre-Jour), sounds like a throwback to the 80s, a time when record companies pushed artists from Africa to develop the global soup called “worldbeat,” in which generic pop moves dilute traditional elements to produce an often toothless hybrid. That’s unfortunate, because Gnahoré is a terrific singer and a dynamic performer, and while it’s admirable that she works hard to reach a wide audience with songs that address serious issues afflicting her homeland—lack of health care, forced marriage, spousal abuse—the pan-African pop she’s forged here has none of her personality. Instead, styles from her native continent are yoked to ultraslick yet bland production. Gnahoré always brings it live, with a charged presence and boundless energy, but I sure wish her material was worthy of her talents. —Peter Margasak

Price: $27, $25 for members

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