Manu Chao

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

"This is a social experiment."

Somewhat challenging the perception of 'Indie' and 'Dinner-Party World Music' in general, Manu Chao's French/Latin music may comfortably fit the latter environs, but he doesn't really fit into any category. That's why I decided to post about him here.

And so what! I think you'll find his intelligent genre-hopping and seamless drifting between tracks and riffs, uniting all songs and structured parts via loopy whistles and ambient guitar, is justifiably abstract and worthy of Einstein... blogging. Even if he is a bonafide internationale superstar and his 'Indie' cred is contestable! His rrrrrrolling raps and childish rhymes provide more than enough variation from the norm to justify his music as somewhat 'Indie', I guess in the sense that it is experimental.

The Paris-born, Barcelona-dwelling former leader of Mano Negra makes feel-good reggae/ska/rock/punk that feels right at home at a dinner party. Though this isn't intended to be a derogatory statement, merely that his comfortable blend of influences is put together in such a way as it compliments [and one could say even inspires] lively chatter. And you always want that at a dinner table.

Making this enlivening music for the past 27 years, the prolific multilingual musician's work was first introduced to me at a globetrotting cousin's house, and it was love at first listen. Re-using riffs from previous songs to make a very cohesive, story-like album, Chao's Proxima Estacion: Esperanza [released in 2001] is a patchwork masterpiece. Faultlessly blending tracks and songs together via this riff-grabbing, grab-bag of South American folklore, Chao's work is effortlessly intoxicating.

Cursory listens to latest single Rainin' In Paradise [from Chao's fourth album, La Radiolina, released a week ago], signal a rockier and more political direction. But I thought I'd backtrack a bit and draw attention to what has become a cult classic for my family, Proxima Estacion: Esperanza. This is unlikely to go unnoticed if you put it on sneakily at a dinner party. But don't think of this setting as a resort to metropolitan blasé presumptions. Rather, it provides an ideal atmosphere for the music to be shared. Think of it as a cultural experiment, not unlike how his website, helpfully translated from French to Spanish, is presented.

Manu Chao- Me Gustas Tu: MP3

Manu Chao- Trapped By Love: MP3

Manu Chao- Mr Bobby: MP3

Manu Chao- Myspace


At 10:28 AM, September 18, 2007, Anonymous Manu fan said...

Cool blog and nice post! I love Manu too, especially how global he is. As a supplement to the website, check out this e-card! Super divertido! (Super fun!)


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