Manu Chao

By September 20, 2007Bios

Manu ChaoManu Chao has indeed traveled the world. Collecting influential sounds and gaining influence from street culture and local bar scenes, Manu Chao has incorporated street life into his Latino roots music.

Mixing politics, life and culture, and words of anti-globalization activism with grassroots Latin sounds, Manu Chao’s music knows no linguistic barriers.

Born in Paris to parents of Spanish descent, Manu Chao began his early musical career at a very young age. As a teenager, he formed a band named Les Hot Pants, which was greatly influenced by The Clash, but did not receive local recognition.

Together with his cousin, Manu Chao began a group called Mano Negra. With traces of ska, punk, reggae and rock, the band is considered a pioneer of Latin alternative music. Their first single was released under a small label and was such a huge success in France that it landed them a contract with Virgin label. They became so popular, in fact, that the ten-member band also received rave reviews for their original debut album “Patchanka”. The band had a strong following worldwide but after signing with Virgin, many of its fans accused them of selling out.

"Desaparecido" | video from: zuzanita

In 1995, Manu Chao moved the band to Spain where he tried forming a new edition of Mano Negra with new members. The project failed when problems of importance and rank between band members surfaced.

In 1998, “Clandestino” was released. The tracks were recorded on a small portable recorder that Manu Chao carried with him when he spent time traveling through South and Central America. The album received slow but steady recognition and in February of 1999 received the “Best Album of the Year” award in the World Music/Traditional Music category at the Victories de la Musique. With more than 2.5 million copies sold to date, “Clandestino” remains one of the best-selling albums in French music history.

{sidebar id=10}Among other albums, Manu Chao released “Esperanza: Proxima Estacion”, “Radio Bomba Sound System”, and “Sibérie Métait Contéee”. Topping European charts in 2001, “Esperanza” was deemed best Album of the Year by Rolling Stone magazine.

Manu Chao has collaborated with artists around the globe such as TijuanoNo! from Mexico, Skank from Brazil, and Todos Tus Muertos from Argentina.

Giving full collaboration as a writer, producer, and composer to his next release, Manu Chao is currently finishing his first album in 6 years. The album is set to be released in early September 2007 as “La Radiolina”.