Legends in Afro-Pop

Victoria Menchaca, Ordway 1/11/15

Blending contemporary African music styles with elements of pop and soul music, Afro-Pop embodies a spirit of cross-culturalism. In this ORDWAY EXTRA, Janis Lane-Ewart and Sowah Mensah discuss Afro-Pop legend Dobet Gnahoré, who fuses her culture and her influences in order to tackle larger social issues. Programmer for KFAI Radio, Doug Cain, ponders: “What is the importance of raising one’s voice, especially as a female artist and an activist?”

In this video, the audience garnered understanding and knowledge about the musical genre and history of Afro-Pop prior to Dobet Gnahoré’s performance at the Ordway.

Videography/Photography: Sherine Onukwuwe, Souleye Films

Speaker Bios

Sowah Mensah
Ethnomusicologist, Master Drummer, and Educator

Originally from Ghana, West Africa, Sowah Mensah currently teaches music at Macalester College and the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. Having performed extensively in the United States and abroad, Mensah also directs and participates in several African music and dance ensembles.

Janis Lane-Ewart
Development Consultant and Media Producer

Since 1977, Janis Lane-Ewart has worked as an arts administrator and as a board member for several local, regional, and nationally based arts organizations. Currently, she works as a development consultant and media producer for several nonprofit organizations in the Twin Cities and Chicago.

Doug Cain
Radio Host

Since 1978, Doug Cain has hosted international music programs on KFAI like Music Without Borders, Global Dawn, and Global Beat. His current show, Global Beat, jumps borders of language, culture and heritage in order to bring global music and occasional commentary on events and issues to a wider audience.

Dobet Gnahoré
Singer, Dancer, and Percussionist

Grammy winner Dobet Gnahoré enchants audiences worldwide with contemporary African music from Mandingue melodies to Congolese rumba, from Ivory Coast Ziglibiti to Cameroon Bikoutsi, and from Ghanian High-Life to Zulu choirs. Speaking several languages fluently, Gnahoré addresses social and political issues like peace, tolerance, and forgiveness in her songs.

View more photos in an online gallery >

Dobet Ghanore

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