How perilous it is to revamp an immortalized universal classic, especially by an indisputable African icon! Manou Gallo brilliantly rises to the challenge by judiciously tweaking one of the anthems of Nigerian singer and saxophonist Fela Anikulapo Kuti. "Lady", recorded 50 years ago for the album "Shakara", is a thrilling piece whose civic dimensions resurge with instant force in this new interpretation.
The admirable Ivorian bassist thus celebrates the advocatory dynamism of women half a century after the scathing words and emotional notes of her illustrious elder. The "afro-groove queen" lives in the present and hears the protest slogans of her sisters engaged in a crusade for equality and parity. Shaking up consciences is a formidable risk when the social climate is tensing-up and minds are becoming radicalized. Perhaps then music is a form of shimmering diplomacy that Manou Gallo masters to perfection in order to gently sway strong convictions, fixed ideas, erroneous statements.
The damn slappy ornamentations of this rhythmical replay certainly hammer home a topic that is still relevant today, but they also demonstrate, (if it were still necessary) Manou Gallo's ability shine up a piece from the past without ruining it. The rhythm remains the frame in this adaptation which respects the original mood. This first extract from an album carried by reverence to the great figures of yesteryear, sparkles, sings, dances, but also invites us to wonder about the demeanours and issues of our time. This Lady has not finished enchanting us!