Category Archives: African music

Montréal by Night

Time out on the town is an infrequent treat for Mé and I. When we get to solo it’s a blast, like drinking a good long draught of playful fancy. Our last night in Sorel and we’re zipping west down the 30 to Montréal. The three babies are with grand-maman and grand-papa being lavished with final moments of delicious spoiling prior to our Nova Scotia departure.

We’re on our way to an African celebration at le Cabaret du Mile-End on Avenue du Parc in the heart of Montréal’s Plateau district. It’s the kick-off for the well-established Nuits d’Afrique festival now in its 24th year.

Mé finds the club as I’m parking the car – in an expensive, we’re giving you a ticket spot as it later turns out. There is only a trickle of people arriving. Up two flights of stairs and into the venue. It’s packed. All 500 seats and more are taken. There is a hum of excitement in the air, that electric charge of pre-show anticipation. We find seats at a table that already has two occupants and settle in.

A symphony of languages swirls through the room. Flowing boubous of riotous colours are tropical beacons in the dimly lit interior. This is an evening to step out and salute African culture and music. I’m happy we’re here together to hear Dobet Ghanoré, a rising star from Côte d’Ivoire. The fans on her myspace page are a who’s who of African music. This is no surprise given her voice, musical arrangements and arresting stage presence.

Our table companions are a brother and sister in their 40s, or early 50s from the city. We speak a little over the buzz sharing snippets like bite-sized amuse-gueules. We hear the voice first and then Ghanoré takes the stage, embracing us in a sweep of her arm. For the rest of the evening, we are transported to her place of dance, of drum, of story and for good measure some sweet West African guitar licks.

Thanks Dobet. It’s a night out to remember – festival city, vibrant beats and time alone with my love. That time alone piece is hard to squeeze in with three under fives. When it does roll around at the end of the day, we’re usually dragging our asses, or lolling into sleep. It’s fun to get out and stir it up.


Waka Waka Beat Girl

We’re now vibing with the Shakira World Cup Edge™ at home and on the roads of Nova Scotia. Shakira’s Waka Waka vocals along with fusion band Freshlyground drive an infectious African rhythm punctuated with war cries and a punchy chorus line.

Lila can’t get enough of it. Playing this video is now standard operating procedure if the girl is a little cranked out and it’s not hunger related. From the first flash of Zulu warriors brandishing spears and knobkerries and the opening cry, she is transported to a place we have never seen her visit before. It’s a land of dance, vocalizations and sun wide smiles.

She can listen to the song a dozen times and more (so can I) and retain her initial excitement. Curious to see if it is the video only that elicits this enthusiastic reaction, I let the song blast in the car. Our girl was thrusting her body about like a mermaid in an undersea race.

It’s a great tune that has people groovin’ all over the world and at seven months she’s let us know that this is her first number one hit. We all love to see her move. Nellie and Noah can’t stop giggling when Lila does her shaka, shaka shake to the Waka, Waka beat. Through her ears and eyes, this has become a family affair, a new anthem for a soccer summer.

Here’s the official version with the international soccer stars.

I’m not sure this would have got the same reaction from our Lila.

Noah had a tune that he put his stamp on too – Soré by Senegalese artist Diogal. This was his first dancing music at about age one. Whenever he heard it, the dance would begin.

It was dance, dance wherever he would be. Diogal was the Lord of the Dance for him you see.

Nellie loves music and dance but she hasn’t obsessed on a song yet. When she does, I’m sure it will be fun.