Afropean Women showcases the continent’s best

Kareyce Fotso comments on the pan-African show she’s mounted with Dobet Gnahoré and Manou Gallo. Toegther, they’re Afropean Women, performing the Acoustic Africa show tonight at Cabaret du Mile End

Kareyce Fotso, Dobet Gnahoré & Manou Gallo are Afropean Women, tonight at Cabaret du Mile End

Tonight, Dobet Gnahoré, Kareyce Fotso and Manou Gallo will perform as Acoustic Africa: Afropean Women. This will be an opportunity to see, according to Fotso, “Happy African women…Africa that sings. Africa that wins. It will be women who take charge on stage. Courageous women…cultural diversity.”

It won’t just be a show, it will be a showcase of music from Gnahoré and Gallo’s native Côte d’Ivoire and Fotso’s home country of Cameroon. Grammy-winning Gnahoré brings her strong vocals and powerful dance to combine with Gallo’s bass skills, honed as part of Zap Mama. The younger upstart Fotso brings a love of traditional Cameroonian music as well as pop and blues.

But the women aren’t teaching each other about their respective musics; rather, their compositions are created through exchange. “It’s all about sharing and enriching our music. It’s not about teaching each other — it’s sharing,” explains Fotso.

The women work together to create compositions that will explore each of their strengths. “We have compositions that we try to do with a new feeling,” she says, “We all work together.” It’s the blend of ideas from different parts of Africa that keeps it interesting: “All of us come from Africa. And Africa in general has something in common. Mixing it up is the charm of the project.”

And the music helps to present a different vision of Africa, specifically African women. “It’s up to us to show another side of Africa,” insists Fotso, “In general, in Africa, we see women as second class citizens. We will show women as first class. This is an Africa that takes charge. We are women who have something to show.

“We want to inspire women to pick up a guitar, to sit down at a drum set. There are women where we are from that are doing this. I hope that the project will continue with other African women.” ■

See Acoustic Africa: Afropean Women at Cabaret du Mile End (5240 Parc) tonight, Saturday, Oct. 27, 8:30 p.m., $32

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