Nobie: Bénin Rio Tokyo

On Bénin Rio Tokyo, Japanese vocalist Nobie takes us on a musical journey spanning West Africa, Brazil, and Tokyo with sparkling duo collaborations. This music is catchy and deep, with layers of voice and guitar infused with a spirit of love, respect, and masterful finesse. With an ideal selection of musical partners and songs, Nobie’s rhythmically thrilling and lush voice cascades through the music like water over rocks, beautifully soft and dynamic.

The first four tracks represent Benin with Nobie and guitarist Lionel Loueke playing African and Brazilian music with flair over slick, fun rhythms. Nobie’s gorgeous vocal and percussive sounds add layers to the music, counterpointed beautifully by the deeper voice of Loueke, playing confidently together with joyful ease.

The Rio portion features legendary guitarist Toninho Horta playing two of his originals with Nobie. “Beijo Partido” is a mysterious, flowing lament with Nobie’s soft voice gracefully soaring over harmonically-shifting fields, while “Samba For Rudi” is a quick-footed vocalese feature, delightfully effusive and acrobatic.

On the Tokyo section, Nobie performs an impressive acapella version of Dave Brubeck’s “Blue Rondo a la Turk”, overdubbing her voice in several parts to brilliant effect. Guitarist Takayoshi Baba joins Nobie on the final track, a cute Japanese song which leaves the listener comforted and relaxed as the worldwide trip winds down.


Leader: Nobie ·


  • Nobie – vocals
  • Lionel Loueke – guitar, vocals (#1-4)
  • Toninho Horta – guitar, vocals (#5-6)
  • Takayoshi Baba – guitar (#8)

Released in 2018 as DBCW-3333 on Dear Heart.




* The audio sample at the top of page is from “Karibou”, written by Lionel Loueke, the first track on this album.