The legendary musician Manu Chao is back in India for a legendary tour across multiple cities in March 2023. Celebrated as a forefather of Latin alternative rock, French-Spanish singer-songwriter Manu Chao’s rhythmic and often political music reflects a variety of global influences. Manu Chao will be playing a live acoustic set + will be joined by two musicians. Stay tuned for more!
About Manu Chao:
Manu Chao is a French musician of Spanish descent. He sings in Spanish, French, English, Italian, Galician, Portuguese and occasionally in other languages.
Chao began his musical career in Paris, busking and playing with groups such as Hot Pants and Los Carayos, which combined a variety of languages and musical styles.
With friends, his cousin Santi and his brother Antoine Chao, he founded the band Mano Negra in 1987, achieving considerable success, particularly in Europe and in South America.
Mano Negra’s sound is mostly characterized by energetic, lively rhythms, symbolized by the title of their first album, Patchanka, derived from the word pachanga (which is a colloquial term for “party”), and a distinct informality which allows the audience to get involved and feel close to their sound.
Mano Negra split in 1994 and Manu Chao spent several years traveling throughout South and Central America, recording new music.
The songs were released as Clandestino in 1998, under Manu Chao’s own name. Though not an instant success, the album gained a steady following in France with hits such as “Bongo Bong” and “Clandestino”, and the album eventually earned the Best World Music Album award in 1999’s Victoires de la Musique, awards. It sold in excess of 5 million copies.
Released at the cross-fade of the millennium, Manu Chao’s first solo album is a celebration and defence of the displaced and immigrants, that mixed a European and South American perspective in an era of more globalised pop music.
Chao’s second, Próxima Estación: Esperanza, was released in 2001. This album (awarded as best french album of the MTV Europe Music Awards), translated as “next station: Hope”), features similar sounds to Clandestino but with heavier Caribbean influences than the previous album. The album and specially the song “Me gustas tu”, was an instant hit, leading to a successful tour that resulted in the 2002 live album Radio Bemba Sound System.
Two years later, Chao returned to his French roots with the French-only album Sibérie m’était contée, which included a large book featuring lyrics to the album and illustrations by Jacek Woźniak.
In 2003 he approached Amadou & Mariam and later p r o d u c e d t h e i r 2 0 0 4 a l b u m “Dimanche à Bamako (“Sunday in Bamako”).
Manu Chao’s last album La Radiolina (literally “little radio” in Italian, but also “pocket radio”) was released on September 17, 2007.”Rainin in Paradize” was the first single from the album.
His song from that record “Me llaman Calle”, written for the 2005 Spanish film Princesas, was awarded with a Goya for Best Original Song and a Latin Grammy Awards for best alternative song.
Time magazine named “Me Llaman Calle” one of The 10 Best Songs of 2007 His song “La Vida Tómbola” was featured in the documentary film Maradona by Serbian filmmaker Emir Kusturica.
The songs “Bongo Bong” and “Je ne t’aime plus”, which appear back-to-back on Clandestino, were covered by British singers Robbie Williams and Lily Allen, who recorded them as a single track, Actually Manu Chao remains one the most elusive of stars, to be seen busking in a local bar or playing a squat as often any high profile gigs.
There have been no album releases since La Radiolina in 2007, despite flying under the radar, there have been hundreds of gigs, sometimes in new countries for Manu like India or Bangladesh, and scores of songs written, a few released like Seeds of Freedom, Words of Truth, A la par del amor (with Chalart58) or like the home-made tracks from Ti.po.ta, a duo consisting of him and Greek singer-actress Klelia Renesi.
As the line had it on one of the most important, autobiographical songs on Clandestino, Desaparecido – “the disappearing one … hurry[ing] down the lost highway … When they look for me I’m not there, When they find me, I’m elsewhere”.
Now comes from Brasil and will arrive to India, Nepal and Singapore …