Arts & Culture / Mosaic / Music / February 18, 2009

Gokh-Bi System shakes up Post Lobby

Who made Knox students dance, sing, and chant throughout the night last Friday? The Gokh-Bi System (pronounced Go Bee), of course. Hosted by WVKC, Harambee, ABLE, and French Club, the concert featured the eight-piece band originating from Senegal, West Africa to celebrate “the links between African and African American music.” The band had a style all their own by combining rock, reggae, hip-hop, and rap in English, French and Wolof, the most widely spoken language in Senegal.

The bass player yelled to the crowd, “Are you ready?!”

After the crowd yelled back in response, he continued, saying they would start “with something light.” A drum solo kick-started the concert as the bass player (who played keyboard at the same time) joined in. One by one, the other members of the band joined in to what sounded like a funk song. One of the vocalists danced in front of the crowd and held the mic to students.

Other members made their way through the crowd and jumped onstage. The beat, driving the song resembling a combination of reggae and hip-hop with rap, compelled students to rock back and forth.

This was followed by a song with a cool, laid-back beat. Students nodded their heads to the rhythm of the vocalist’s rapid rapping and the dancing of the other two vocalists who did what resembled fast tap dancing and krumping. The song crescendoed with the drums pounding faster and faster until the song stopped, leaving the listeners with vibrations reverberating through their legs.

One of the vocalists addressed the crowd, saying, “We’re here tonight to have fun so we need to do this together.”

With the guitar strumming, the vocalist said, “Put your hands up.”

Throughout the song, the band looked like they were having fun, smiling and enjoying themselves, which rubbed off onto the crowd. The lights pulsated with interchanging colors as snow fell outside. As the song continued to play, more people came in, lured and hooked by the catchy beats that emanated through the campus.

“This next song is about freedom,” said one of the vocalists.

The song had a cool beat with great percussive elements to which one of the vocalists stomped. Most of the crowd swayed together in unison. The song was a soaring anthem as they sang, “Freedom—let it ring.” It had the same beat throughout and at the end of the song, one of the vocalists pumped his fist into the air.

The next song featured a rapid crescendo with each vocal refrain. Then the beat came crashing in with rapid clapping and rapping. One of the vocalists stepped into the crowd.

Kicking in with the next song, students immediately jumped up and down. Next came a wailing, high-pitched guitar solo. The night featured many impressive solos as during the next song, after the bass and keyboard solo, played by one person, one of the vocalists took off his scarf and made a bowing gesture with it. Some students even head-banged during the drum solo at the end.

The next song featured “Get Up, Stand Up,” a famous reggae song by Bob Marley, which had the lyrics “stand up for your rights.” The vocalists called out “Barack Obama” to the rhythm of the song which the students yelled back to the band.

The band invited students to dance onstage through many of the songs, showing many styles of dance including belly dancing, booty shaking, shimmying, krumping, and popping and locking.

Sheena Leano

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