Manu Chao - La Radiolina
Is it time, Lord? Seriously, is it not about time? “Time for what?” Ugh, even you haven’t been listening. Manu Chao’s new album. The former-frontman of the utterly fantastic Mano Negra, with whom he wrote 'Mala Vida', Gogol Bordello’s famous live set closer. “Erm, nope.” He’s a massive selling in his own right, as well as a cultural tribal hero to millions with his political latin-fused blend of ska, punk, and reggae? “…but wasn't he in The Levellers?” No, he wasn’t in the Levellers but Manu does fully embrace folk music too. In the 90’s, his then-label in the UK, Virgin Records, nearly didn’t put out his amazing 'Clandestino' album because they (foolishly) didn’t think it was up to much. “Nah, never heard of him.” Okay doofus, here we go.
La Radiolina by Manu Chao, as well as being six years since his last release, 'Proxima Estacion: Esperanza', should finally be the album that will hopefully help him break the UK. He has the fans, but although nowhere near the rest of the world (seriously, it’s the UK that’s lagging behind), this is an album that swings from four languages (Spanish, French, Italian, and English) and yet in no way seems confusing, and at the base of every song lies simplicity such as a strummed acoustic guitar. It’s world music, and no, you have nothing to fear. Backroom guests included Mario Caldetto and Andrew Scheps, so if you get your kicks from Gogol Bordello, Leningrad, Amadou & Mariam, or even The Clash (and Strummer was a big big fan), then it’s time you woke your ears up to Manu Chau.