There’s been an explosion in West Africa... in Senegal’s capital city of Dakar. Don’t worry, no one is hurt. What got blown up is the myth that African traditional music is somehow outdated for the world’s new next cyber-tech generation. The truth is they, and all of us, are hungry for music that speaks to and loves our humanity. And no one has done more to obliterate the myth and “show some love” for the power of contemporary African music than that the group called Gokh-Bi System. Two decades ago they were young teenagers in one of Dakar’s roughest neighborhoods, Guinaw Rails. Their group, their music, their neighborhood, their city and their nation were simultaneously claiming their rightful place in the 21st century by uniting tradition and innovation, ancient and modern, mind and spirit.
Gokh-Bi System, whose name means “neighborhood system,” got it right...right from the start. They turned up the volume on their individual and neighborhood identity, on their ethnic, religious and national identity… and created something for their generation that hadn’t been seen or heard. And they did all this by letting their music and poetry do the talking... in five languages. What followed were four tours to America, each on more successful than the last, and all of which garnered them a healthy national and international following. And oh yeah, they did this while remaining rooted in their ever-expanding pan-African identity.
Two decades later, right now, the African diaspora lives in them and in their music. The ancient mystic sound of Sana Ndiaye’s three-string ekonting of Southern Senegal is still the core of their sound, while Mamadou Ndiaye’s fiery and life affirming poetry still carries listeners on a magic carpet ride...
The world has become their neighborhood, and as the group’s music has evolved, so has the diversity of it’s members. Now, in addition to their original sound, they have added Dominican-born singer and Bronx hip-hop artist I-Shea, and from Trinidad-Tobago singer-activist Choc'late Allen. Rocking the drum ’n bass connection at the bottom of this exquisite vehicle are drummer Thiokho Diagne and bassist/producer Garrett Sawyer. They are something to behold. And just like when they began, they are throwing down a big, bold, irresistibly beautiful and funky call to one and all. Time to celebrate humanity’s beginnings in Africa, and inspire the miracle of our spirited humanity with music that feeds our souls. I’ve done my best to invite you in to their world... but now, well now you’ve just got to see them for yourself.