Manu Chao

There is something very happy and gay about music with a Caribbean flavor infused it. Something that instantly transports you to the soft, sandy beaches of one of the picturesque coastal Caribbean cities, think Jamaica or Puerto Rico. Brings a smile to your face, doesn’t it? Manu Chao’s music is one such example. It may faintly remind you of songs sung by the legendary Harry Belafonte. Songs like Jamaican Farewell, like Matilda, like the Banana Boat Song… got the drift yet? Not to forget a slight resemblance to Bob Marley and the Wailers (Reggae) or an extremely smooth Salsa tune that’s amalgamated with the tune.

 
 
Manu Chao started performing sometime in the 1980s when his music was heavily influenced by the rock scene in the UK, especially by bands like The Jam and The Clash. This musical passion led Manu Chao to form his first band alongwith his brother, Antoine Chao and a few friends. They named the band Los Carayos, and incorporated the sounds with a lot of rock and punk styles, something that remained constant in their second band, Mano Negra. All the band members collectively received many accolades for their magnificent work but didnot quite manage to create a stir in the English-speaking market. Three albums and many tours later, the group (Mano Negra) disbanded in 1995. Mano Negra was mostly characterized for the ‘party’ feel in the music, their first album is the best evidence for it. It was named Patchanka (derived from pachanga which means party). Having said that, one will barely find any repetitiveness in the rhythm and the beats, their music is held together as a blend of various genres.
 
After Mano Negra broke up, Manu Chao got together with a few new people (a few continued their association post the breakup of Mano Negra) to form Radio Bemba Sound System. It’ll be interesting to know how they came up with a name such as this for their new band. It was named after the communication system used by the rebels in Sierra Maestra led by Castro and Guevara during the Cuban Revolution. Radio Bemba Sound System features new groups belonging to various backgrounds. The objective was simple, to travel the world and discover new music as they went, eventually replicating the sound distinctly prevalent in street music and bar scenes from a variety of cultures. 
 
 
It’s true when they say music has no language (or genre), it’s a wonderful blissful world. Manu Chao managed to apply this in his music and Clandestino, the album, went on to earn the World Best Music Album title at the Victoires de la Musique awards in the year 1999. Even when you listen to the lyrics, they talk a lot about immigration, love, living in ghettos and drugs and most things that spell revolution. One may find a few repeated lyrics here and there, but that’s absolutely alright in my opinion, it’s like recycling your own work and presenting in a new package.
 
Totally adore the way he says Me Gustas Tu, had he been infront of my eyes, I’d surely prove otherwise. :)
 
 

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