‘Free Woman’ is the new French pop track from Womankind, and serves as the final track on the band’s album, ‘King Of Love’.
Before meeting her death in 1793 at the guillotine, Olympe de Gouges spoke out against slavery, oppression, and discrimination. Her book, ‘Declaration Of The Rights Of Woman And Of The Female Citizen’, is arguably one of the first feminist texts published in the world. Sylvie Burger, the Swiss-French frontwoman for Womankind, clearly identifies with de Gouges, and is equally unbossed, dangerous, uncompromising, and resolutely free.
While ‘Free Woman’ isn’t strictly about Olympe de Gouges, the anthemic lyrics by Burger can be applied to any woman who is set on pushing back against the patriarchy. Burger’s music is international as well, and speaks to individuals, regardless of their nationality and location, with sharp observations, biting humour, and plain-sighted objectives.
Sylvie is backed up wholeheartedly by the four other members of Womankind, and their distinctive brand of danceable jazz-pop, which has seen the group a popular club attraction in their native Paris. “Womankind” was named as such to imply something kindly provocative, and also a way to talk about kindness as a woman. While all the musicians in Womankind are gently virtuosic, at the same time they don’t show off, but they hit all their marks with impeccable skill and taste, creating an ideal sonic platform for Burger’s storytelling.
‘Free Woman’ draws from gypsy jazz, transcontinental soul, American blues, and Latin pop, and Burger, who first established herself as a professional musician in Mexico City, is clearly at home with this sound.
Womankind joined forces on their music video with another fiercely autonomous French artist: filmmaker Chris Nahon, creator of the celebrated ‘L’Empire Des Loups’, and other imaginative movies. Burger and her bandmates are shot in the Southern French city of Montauban, which just so happens to have been the birthplace and early headquarters of Olympe de Gouges. Nowadays, it’s a centre of culture and an officially designated “City Of Art And History”. Womankind make the most of the city’s beauty, with Burger dancing through the streets – she’s not the only woman of course – the local women are everywhere, all with their own stories. Choreographer Daniel Pop is also seen dancing, bringing a powerful energy to the global project, with his long hair adding a feminine aura. We catch glimpses of their stories, and we cheer for them as they stand up for themselves. By the end of the video, they’re all dancing together – including a group of female firefighters, brave and strong women in a traditionally male-dominated field – finding strength in solidarity and camaraderie amid a centuries-long battle for equality.
Watch the video for ‘Free Woman’: