Socialist Worker

All in the mix

by Tim Sanders
Issue No. 1761

'PEOPLE'S GLOBALISATION not corporate globalisation' is one of the slogans of the anti-capitalist movement. And if people's globalisation exists, it now has a soundtrack. Manu Chao is a hugely successful musician everywhere in Europe. But in Britain he remains largely unknown.

He makes music of resistance, singing in English, Spanish, French and Portugese. He sings about 'los sin papeles' (illegal immigrants), about the poor of the world and their struggles against a system which puts profit before people. This makes him sound a bit worthy, perhaps rather glum.

But his music is a joyful explosion of reggae, ska, salsa, rock, folk and many other influences. These are mixed with subtlety and a lightness of touch that belies the seriousness of his themes.

He spent several years travelling in Latin America and other parts of the world recording and collecting local songs of resistance for his first album, Clandestino.

This is music to dance away the blues. Manu Chao's new album, Proxima Estacion-Esperanza (Next Station-Hope) is in the same spirit. Anyone at the protest in Genoa probably ate and drank at Manu Chao's expense as a restaurant, Clandestino, was distributing free refreshments to the protesters during the entire weekend.

He has made many public statements in support of the movement and performed for free at benefits. But of course the best reason for buying his records is the fun of listening to them.

Proxima Estacion-Esperanza is released on the Virgin label, price £14.99.

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Article information

Sat 11 Aug 2001, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1761
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