Manou Gallo « Manou Gallo »
Manou Gallo’s second solo album kicks off with a groove that resolutely refuses to be ignored. I’ll wager you’ll need to tie your feet down to prevent them from tapping, if not sashaying you onto the dance-floor (or living room carpet). The oddly named ”ABJ-BXL” is frustratingly short-lived, but ”Chanter L’Amour”’s stop/start rhythms and gorgeous quicksilver vocals, courtesy of the leader and
guest Wah Tanga Rema, perpetuate and improve upon that first impression of Gallo’s music.
Manou Gallo was born and raised by her grandmother in Divo, a small city in the centre of the Ivory Coast. She began her musical life as a child playing the Atombra talking drums that accompany traditional funerals. It wasn’t until her late ‘20s that she picked up the electric bass which led to a six year tenure with Zap Mama.
”Frères” eases up the pace of the first few tracks and conveys the impression of an informal improvisation that gradually gains form until it blooms into a delightful melody, pauses and rearranges itself before returning to its newfound tune. Gallo’s electric bass, popped, plucked and stroked, is a restless, vigilant partner in the music as it weaves in and out of the embrace of the other instruments with a lithe, funky grace. Her voice is a similarly deft blessing which she uses to sing in Dida (her mother tongue), French and occasionally English.
The twelve songs on Manou Gallo are a subtle blend of West African heritage, funk and a peppering of contemporary flavours including rap and even a brief dash of r’n’b. The seams don’t show at all, this is detailed, rich and catchy music that gifts a feeling of well-being.
Colin Buttimer (2007-06-21)