Singer, bass & percussion player - Manou Gallo is a brilliant band leader and musician. The stage is like her second home and there is an irresistible power and energy in her live performance. An African woman who plays the Bass like a percussion instrument is extraordinary.
The musician and singer Manou Gallo born in 1972 in Divo a small city in the Centre Western region of Ivory Coast, is a virtuose and unique talent with a rich heritage of her origin of the Djiboi tribe. Manou has an equally extraordinary story to tell.
Already as a little girl she was different and walked her own ways. She plays the tambour (percussion drums ), which is normally only reserved and allowed for men in the Ivorian culture. Raised by her grand-mother who was looking after her like her own daughter, Manou was rather autonomous from early on: ‘At this time, I was leaving like a little savage. I was helping cultivating the fields, drawing water from the well. I wasn’t going to school, but my grandmother taught me traditions, respect, and values’. It is easy to imagine Manou, wearing tiny shorts as they were all clothes she had, her big smiling eyes, her head full of lice, climbing mango trees and running freely in the alley-ways of Divo. While waiting for her friends after school, Manou was already beating rhythms, banging on her legs, stomping with her feet, marking the tempo with her voice: Rhythm was her obsession: “When I was a little girl, I was already going from backyard to backyard, these places where each family comes together everyday to cook, sing, in one word to live together. I was meeting my friends and sooner or later we inevitably started singing, dancing and beating on iron boxes”. In the Ivory Coast, playing music is an ongoing tradition taking place at funerals, births, or to welcome newly born twins as well as for any event of everyday life: In Divo, life follows the traditional Djiboi rhythms. From a material point of view, life is just basic, but it is full of warmth and people live there feeling good in their heads.