Pin It
Submit to Reddit

CD Review: Manu Chau's Baionarena 

The Deal: If it wasn't for Manu Chau, there wouldn't be any Latin Alternative. Originally influenced by The Clash, then Bob Marley, he's since become the world's best known musical activist, vagabond and ex-Europunk, unknown in the U.S., though making inroads now via festival appearances at Coachella and Bonnaroo. His newest recording is a mammoth live appearance in Bayonne, France, in typical Manu manner: explosive, exuberant, playful and breathless. It's a long, double CD with an added DVD, featuring the entire concert, videos from earlier CDs and brief documentary footage.

The Good: Featuring incredible backup musicians, the Radio Bemba Sound System, the ensemble is a French/Spanish version of a Springsteen concert. Like Springsteen, Manu's songs are for the masses, featuring classics "Welcome to Tijuana," "Clandestina" and Rainin' in Paradise". His songs are simple, repetitive, pure and powerful. Like a modern day Woody Guthrie, his guitar kills fascists. Add some Isely Brothers – think "Shout Parts 1 and 2" – and you get a powerful mix of music, message and theater. And there's rhythm. An abundance of Latin rhythms influenced by roots, punk, reggae and found sounds.

The Bad: Maybe too intense, maybe too long, the fast paced, double-time rhythms leave you breathless and makes you think polka instead of punk.

The Verdict: Hardly a bad track – dance along and the delirium is contagious. No denying his power, street cred and charisma. He sings in Spanish, French, Arabic and English, sometimes in one song. Doesn't matter what language he uses as his music is of the people and for the people.

Pin It
Submit to Reddit


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Creative Loafing encourages a healthy discussion on its website from all sides of the conversation, but we reserve the right to delete any comments that detract from that. Violence, racism and personal attacks that go beyond the pale will not be tolerated.

Search Events

Photo Galleries

  • On Saturday, Oct. 21, hundreds gathered at Camp North End on Statesville Avenue for Charlotte's first black alternative music festival. We captured some of the bands in action on stage, but mostly we surveyed the grounds as fans, families, vendors and more lounged around the sprawling, colorful Camp North End site. It was a great day of music, food, fun, and sweet, autumn sunshine. (Photos by Mark Kemp)
» more slideshows
items in Creative Loafing Charlotte More in Creative Loafing Charlotte pool

© 2017 Womack Newspapers, Inc.
Powered by Foundation