Manu Chao: La Radiolina


For a man who sings in 7 languages, one is surprised at how clearly his consistent passion comes alive.  Manu Chao manages to instill all of his songs with a sense of purpose, whether extolling his far left politics, serenading a loved one in a back alley or pumping up the partying pogoing masses, the passion comes through to the listener, even if they do not comprehend the meaning of the words, they still comprehend. 

Having fronted one of the worlds (not USA’s) more popular punk acts of the 1980’s Mano Negra, Manu Chao expanded his horizons and has been recording exciting music that encompasses almost every genre, usually on the same track.  La Radiolina continues down the stellar path he began in 1998 with the excellent Clandestino, electronica, flamenco, Afro-beat, reggae, punk, ska blend effortlessly as if they all belonged together since the dawn of time extolling a sound that can legitimately be called “World Music”.   The invigorating “El Hoyo” is a perfect example; musically, it is as if someone were changing channels on the radio outside on a busy urban street in Cuba for the recording – trumpets, police sirens, guitars, snare slaps and manic cackling mash together, captured for a pulsating effect. 

Elsewhere Chao’s politics are aired (and spoken in English) along with a snaking electric guitar on “Politk Kills” and the punchy “13 Dias” will fire up the crowds at live shows, but there is a focus on the second half of the disk towards the softer side, and it is just as triumphant.  Tracks “La Vida Tombola” and “Me Llaman Calle” accentuate the flamenco flair of Manu Chao and his band showing the grown up side of the troubadour.  On “Rainin in Paradise” Chao sings that “This world go crazy…” and the disk sounds the same way genre hoping almost to a fault, but as a whirlwind whole La Radiolina is fantastic. 

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