Childhood friends from the Dakar, Senegal hood of Pikine Guinaw Rail—literally “the other side of the tracks”— Gokh-Bi System (pronounced Go Bee) reunite rap with its ancient West African ancestors in a style dubbed “ancient meets urban”. GBS was formed in 1993 by three childhood friends: Mamadou Ndiaye (Emcee), Diasse Pouye (Emcee), and Pape Bathie Pouye (Music Director/Manager). The three boys were transfixed by the conscious lyrics and powerful messages found in hip hop and began creating their own lyrics against the beat. They started out imitating what they heard on the cassettes, combining English, French, Arabic, and several other Senegalese dialects including Wolof (the official language of Senegal), Serer, and Jola into their own flow. Soon freestyle turned into original compositions and the boys from the other side of the tracks added Backa Niang (percussionist/vocals) and Sana Ndiaye (ekonting/vocals) and christened themselves Gokh-Bi System which means neighborhood system. A distinctive component of GBS's authentic sound is the ekonting played by Sana. The ekonting — once used to calm social unrest — and Gokh-Bi’s positive message, inspired by rap greats from The Last Poets to Chuck D, transform the group’s sound into an uplifting yet hard-hitting African homecoming for hip hop that sounds like The Roots hanging with Baaba Maal. Drummer Matt Garstka, bassist/keyboardist Joe Sallins and Guitarist Greg Garstka add modern instrumentation while an African dancer adds energy and movement to the stage performance.
Since their arrival in America, GBS has opened for and shared the stage with: Kanye West, Last Poets, Damian Marley, Dead Prez, Tribe Called Quest, Youssou N’Dour, Angelique Kidjo, Femi Kuti, Culture, Toots and The Maytals, Michael Franti (Spearhead), Africando, Erykah Badu, and Grammy Award winning artist, Patti LaBelle, who hosted a special tribute concert in honor of legendary singer and songwriter, John Whitehead at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, PA. Joining GBS at this momentous evening were Gerald LeVert, Jaguar Wright, Floetry, Angela Bofill, and many more friends of John Whitehead. They have completed 11 North American tours through 35 states and Canada including major festival performances Bumbershoot (Seattle WA), Montreal Jazz Fest, Floydfest (Virginia), National Geographic's All Roads Film Festival (Washington, DC and Los Angeles), Festival International de Louisiane, Concert of Colors (Detroit), World Music Festival (Chicago), Lotus, Festival Nuits d'Afrique (Montreal) and Celebrate Brooklyn African Festival (New York).
Official Website: http://yoshis.com/sanfrancisco/jazzclub/artistpopup?showid=763
Added by Yoshis on June 8, 2009