Thought of the Day

I don't believe in morality, but I believe in ethical conduct as set out by His Holiness the Dalai Lama: "Ethical conduct = a way of behaving that respects others’ right to be happy".

Monday, 22 October 2007


I have just realised that I forgot to post about Manu Chao’s concert on 4th October. How ungrateful of me! Sorry, Manu! Be warned that the following report is a standing ovation to the "King of (latino-ska) Bongo" more than a objective review.

Nine years after his big hits Clandestino (1998) and its follow-up Proxima Estacion: Esperanza, Manu Chao is finally back in the spotlight with his long-awaited new album, La Radiolina. During this time, although he made only rare appearances outside the Spanish-speaking world he has always been committed in several activist causes. In 2004 he released his new album, Sibérie m'était contéee, accompanied by a book of Wozniak’s drawings.

His former punk-rock-Latino band La Mano Negra dominated France’s indie music scene in the early 90s. Turning away from the alternative rock sound, Manu began to seek new inspirations in street culture and the music he heard on the local bar scene. After a short period with Radio Bemba, he decided to start performing as a solo singer collaborating with musicians from widely diverse backgrounds, such as the group Tijuanano (from Mexico), Skank (from Brazil) and Todos Tus Muertos (Argentina). Mixing computer sound effects and street sounds with simple acoustic guitar, Manu created an album which had a strong Latino 'roots' feel: Clandestino.

Esperanza: Proxima Estacion features the same musical and linguistic fusion and a predominantly hispanic feel. La Radiolina continues this tradition of an eclectic and intense multi-lingual oeuvre promoted with a 2007 tour in the USA in May and in Europe this month. He was actually playing in S Francisco the week I was there, but it was sold out! Apparently this will be the last CD available on sale because Manu intends to set up a radio in internet through which to divulge his music. How cool is that?!

The concert was an explosion of notes. Songs were re-mixed and mixed together so that singing along was at times difficult, but dancing and jumping around was great!

At some point Manu grabbed a Mexican flag and my thought went to Raul. The day after I learnt that Raul was at the concert as well and that flag was his flag! Unbelievable!

Although Manu doesn't like to be called activist songs like Rainin’ in Paradise (against the US policy - Bush is called the worst terrorist!) and Politik kills (against politics in general) are undoubtely political, not too mention his revolutionary road movie-style video clip, which was directed by no less than one of my all times favourite directors: Emir Kusturica!

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