Dobet Ghanoré sings to the politicians of Côte d'Ivoire. Songs heard on the world's stage sometimes command more attention than the voices of the governed. She sings, with a social conscience, about family and roots, and prays for an end to war, a cure for the AIDS pandemic, and for the orphans both leave in the street.
Her music is woven, like fabric, from the languages and styles of her pan-African culture - lyrics in Bété, Fon, Baoulé, Lingala, Malinké and French - and the music of Manding melodies, Congolese rumba, Ivorian Ziglibiti, Cameroon Bikutsi, Ghanaian High-Life and Zulu choirs.
Dobet made her North American debut at Seattle's Jazz Alley, along with Mali's Habib Koite, as they launched the U.S. leg of Putumayo's Acoustic Africa Tour. The tour will visit 40 cities, joined by Vusi Mahlasela of South Africa. All three artists are social activists successfully drawing attention to Africa's challenging social issues with their music.
The tour is also introducing audiences to Oxfam America, an organization committed to creating lasting solutions to global poverty, hunger, and social injustice. One immediate opportunity to contribute to their effort is to support the passage of H.R. 6142, currently in the House Ways and Means Committee. The bill will amend the African Growth and Opportunity Act and extend a provision allowing sub-Saharan African countries to export clothing to the U.S. made from third-country fabric. Their emerging clothing industry provides nearly 300,000 workers, mainly women, with jobs that put food on the table, send children to school, and pay for health care.
Sometimes our politicians listen to us, even if we don't lift our voices in song. Contact your Representatives and ask them to support H.R. 6142. Seattle's 7th District Representative, Jim McDermott, is on the Ways and Means Committee, and can be contacted here.
Images: Dobet at Jazz Alley - Oct 2006 | Habib at Jazz Alley - Jan 2004 |
More: Dobet's debut CD Ano Neko | Dobet and husband Colin Laroche de Feline performing Mindile (Quicktime) - Paris, Oct 2004 | Dobet's Bio @ Contre Jour Records