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Manu Chao

Manu Chao helped begin the Latin alternative movement way back in the '80s -- although it had no name then -- and in his later work he cut a cross-cultural swath across styles and geographic boundaries. Chao was born on June 26, 1961, in Paris to Spanish parents -- his father, Ramon Chao, a respected writer, comes from Galicia, his mother Bilbao. Growing up bilingual, he was also influenced by the punk scene across the English Channel that happened while he was still in his teens. As a teen he played in bands, including a rockabilly outfit called Les Hot Pants, which won local critical praise but never went anywhere before breaking up. After that, Chao and his cousin began Mano Negra, named for an anarchist organization that operated in Spain. They recorded their first single, "Mala Vida," for a small label, but its French success led them to a contract with Virgin -- something many early fans decried as selling out. Multilingual and decidedly multicultural, but with an edge heavily influenced by the punk rock of the Clash, Mano Negra seemed comfortably at home anywhere, be it North Africa or North America, in their music. Operating as a collective, without a manager, wasn't the best way to guarantee international success, and their attempts to break the U.S. at the start of the '90s didn't work -- America simply wasn't ready for their musical ratatouille. However, Europe loved them, as did South America. In 1992 they began a seemingly odd tour of Latin America, traveling by boat with actors and a circus, playing in port cities on both the Atlantic and Pacific sides, aided and abetted by various political guerilla groups, which sometimes didn't sit well with governments. In 1995, Chao moved the band to Spain, where he also formed another outfit, Radio Bemba Sound System, employing both musicians from Mano Negra and outside, which, according to rumors, caused rifts within the ranks, leading to the split of Mano Negra. Chao then returned to South and Central America, spending the next few years drifting around with his guitar and a four-track, recording here and there. The resultant collection of songs was released in 1998 (1999 in the U.S.) under the title Clandestino and included a reworking of the Mano Negra track "King of Bongo," which was picked up for use on the soundtrack to Madonna's The Next Big Thing. The album itself took off very slowly, but after a year was going stronger than ever, a sleeper that found its niche in the burgeoning Latin alternative scene (even though its lyrics freely mixed English and French along with the Spanish). In 2000 Chao played a rare pair of shows in Los Angeles, and in June 2001 released Proxima Estacion: Esperanza, which showed that his musical self had been spending the last couple of years soaking up the sounds of the Caribbean. This was further explored on Radio Bemba Sound System, a live recording done in 2002 that was taken from the tour following Proxima Estacion: Esperanza. In 2004 Chao released his first French-only album, Sibérie M'était Contéee, about Paris, and in 2007 Radiolina, the artist's first studio album in six years, came out. It was followed in 2009 by the release of another live album, Baionarena, and by further heavy worldwide touring, including a number of high-profile festival appearances. ~ Chris Nickson
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Stations Featuring
Manu Chao

    World Music

    World Music
    27 songs

    Rock Latino

    Rock Latino
    11 songs

Albums by
Manu Chao

Top Songs by
Manu Chao

  1.   Song
  2.   Me Llaman Calle
  3.   Politik Kills
  4.   Bongo Bong
  5.   La Vida Tombola
  6.   A Cosa
  7.   El Hoyo
  8.   Panik Panik
  9.   Y Ahora Qué?
  10.   Rainin' In Paradize
  11.   Clandestino
  12.   Mala Fama
  13.   Volver, Volver
  14.   Desaparecido
  15.   Mama Call
  16.   Luna y Sol
  17.   La Despedida
  18.   Je Ne T'Aime Plus
  19.   El Kitapena
  20.   Piccola Radiolina
  21.   Infinita Tristeza
  22.   La Vie a
  23.   Mentira...
  24.   Lagrimas de Oro
  25.   Por el Suelo
  26.   Dia Lina... Dia Pena
  27.   Besoin De La Lune
  28.   13 Días
  29.   Malegria
  30.   Minha Galera
  31.   Mr. Bobby
  32.   El Viento
  33.   Me Gustas Tu
  34.   Por Donde Saldra El Sol
  35.   Radio Bemba
  36.   Casa Babylon
  37.   Promiscuity
  38.   Welcome to Tijuana
  39.   Sidi H'bibi
  40.   Forzando Maquina/Mr. Bobby
  41.   Merry Blues
  42.   Tumba
  43.   Radio Bemba/Eldorado 1997
  44.   Me Quedo Contigo (Si Me das Elegir)
  45.   La Despedida/Mentira
  46.   L' Hiver Est Là
  47.   Hamburger Fields/Merry Blues
  48.   Dia Luna Dia Pena
  49.   Crèv' La Vie
  50.   Mundoreves
  51.   Tristeza Maleza
  52.   Amalucada Vida
  53.   Soñe Otro Mundo
  54.   Siberia
  55.   The Bleedin Clown
  56.   Otro Mundo
  57.   La Primavera
  58.   The Monkey
  59.   Que Paso Que Paso
  60.   Mala Vida
  61.   Rumba De Barcelona
  62.   Cahi En La Trampa
  63.   Pinocchio (Viaggio In Groppa Al Tonno)
  64.   Que Pasa Que Paso
  65.   Peligro
  66.   Machine Gun
  67.   Bienvenida a Tijuana
  68.   La Vacaloca
  69.   Homens
  70.   La Marea
  71.   La Chinita
  72.   Papito
  73.   Le Rendez Vous
  74.   Trapped by Love
  75.   Mi Vida
  76.   Denia
  77.   Eldorado 1997
  78.   Bixo
  79.   EZLN...para Tod@s Todo...
  80.   Intro
  81.   Mama Cuchara

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