ALLIANCE Francaise in Lusaka last Saturday capped the 41st annual Francophonie Week with an exciting performance by award-winning Ivorian artiste Dobet Gnahore.
From her first song of an over hour-long set, the feisty singer, dancer and percussionist captivated the audience with her thrilling stage presence, powerful vocals and contagious energy.
Combining a variety of styles including Mandingue melodies, Congolese rhumba, Ivory Coast ziglibiti, traditional African melodies and jazz-like tunes, Dobet's voice and charisma drew the packed auditorium to its feet more than once, in a performance that is certain to linger in the minds of many for years to come.
The daughter of master percussionist Boni Gnahore, Dobet joined her father's Ivory Coast-based company and learnt theatre, dance, music and singing.
She released her debut album Ano Neko in 2003, and has since held performances across the world, and emerged as one of Africa's most exciting talents. In 2010, Dobet and US artiste Indie Arie won a Best Urban/Alternative Performance Grammy Award for their song Pearls. Dobet released her third album, Djekpa La You earlier this month.
Earlier in the week, Alliance Francaise hosted a performance by Malagasy artiste, Rajery, and his son Zo on percussion. Award-winning singer-songwriter Rajery, who only has one hand, wowed his audience with a virtuoso performance of the valiha.
Considered the national instrument of Madagascar, the valiha is a tube zither made from bamboo, played by plucking strings that are supported by dried gourds. The evening's performance ended with a collaboration between Rajery, Mathew Tembo on kalimba and Brian Chengala on xylophone.
Alliance Francaise president Chanda Mwiko said Francophonie Week 2013, a week-long festival of art exhibitions, sport, music, theatre and French cuisine, had been prepared with great care by the centre.
"The Alliance Francaise of Lusaka is not only a place for French-speaking people, but a place for all the people who want to exchange and build links between themselves," said Mwiko.