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Famous Like Me > Composer > C > Manu Chao

Profile of Manu Chao on Famous Like Me

Name: Manu Chao  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 21st June 1961
Place of Birth: Paris, France
Profession: Composer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Manu Chao

Manu Chao (born June 21, 1961 in Paris; real name Jose-Manuel Thomas Arthur Chao; also occasionally credited as Oscar Tramor) is a French Latin folk singer of Spanish origin.

Chao's parents were Spanish - or to be more precise, his mother is Basque and his father, writer Ramón Chao, is Galician -, but moved to Paris to escape Francisco Franco's dictatorship (which lasted until the dictator's death in 1975). Manu Chao thus spent his childhood near Paris.

Manu Chao was a well-known member of the Parisian alternative music scene, in bands such as the Hot Pants and Los Carayos. In 1987, Chao, his brother Antoine Chao and their cousin Santiago Casariego founded the band Mano Negra. Mano Negra met with success in France first with the hit single Mala vida, then toured South America. The band split circa 1995.

He sings in French, Spanish, Arabic, Galician, Portuguese, English, and Wolof, often mixing them in the same song. Although he is one of the world's largest selling artists, he is not well-known in the English-speaking world.

His music has many influences: rock, French chanson, Spanish-American Salsa, Reggae, Ska and Algerian raï. These influences were obtained from immigrants in France, his Iberian relations, and foremost his travels in Mesoamerica as a wandering nomad following the disbanding of Mano Negra. Many of Chao's lyrics are about love, living in ghettos and immigration, and often carry a left-wing message. He has many followers among the European left and the anti-globalization movement, though some resent his being part of the music establishment.


See Hot Pants, Los Carayos and Mano Negra for earlier recordings.


  • Clandestino (Virgin - 1998)
  • Millenium Hits (Umbrella Records - 2000)
  • Proxima Estación: Esperanza (Virgin - 2001) (see also List of Madrid metro stations)
  • Radio Bemba Sound System (live album) (Virgin - 2002)
  • Sibérie m'était contéee [sic], (Virgin - 2004)


  • Bongo Bong (1999)
  • Clandestino (2000)
  • Me gustas tú (2001)
  • Merry Blues (2001)
  • Mr. Bobby (2002)

Manu Chao song

In 2003, the punk rock band Les Wampas, founded in 1983 had their first hit with the song Manu Chao, whose chorus translates into: "If I had Manu Chao's wallet, I'd go on holidays at least to the Congo... If I had Louise Attaque's bank account, I'd go on holidays at least until Easter."

Didier Wampas declared he was critical of the attitude of certain artists (Manu Chao, Noir Désir) who, while showing themselves critical of the system, make a very good living out of it.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Manu Chao