Manu Chao and the Radio Bemba Sound System, Edinburgh 19.08.03
A Little Bit of Barcelona Comes To Chesser
Manu Chao and the Radio Bemba Sound System, Corn Exchange Edinburgh, Tuesday 19th August.
Manu Chao and the Radio Bemba Sound System brought their unique brand of latin-world-ska-punk to Edinburgh last night. Manu is massively popular in Southern Europe and Latin America, but is less well known in Britain and the rest of Northern Europe. That showed, with the composition of the audience in Edinburgh who seemed to be largely Spanish, which probably saved the gig from the typical Edinburgh audience lack of enthusiasm. No one was trying to look cool last night. They were too busy dancing. The band played over two hours in the sweltering heat of the Corn Exchange as a familiar smoky smell wafted over the audience.
Manu and the band combined fantastic tunes and great showmanship and uncompromising politics. Anti-war, anti-corporate globalisation but in favour freedom, opening the borders to refugees, legalising cannabis and for national self-determination.
The band played most of the material from the albums Clandestino and Proxima Estación: Esperanza plus older material from Manu's previous band Manu Negra. Radio Bemba Sound System have also now been joined by Fermín Muguruza (pictured below, centre) from old-school Basque punk-ska band Kortatu. He gave us a fantastic rendition of their classic (if somewhat over-romantic) Sarri Sarri.
French Basque Manu left his record label Virgin last year and has spent his time since then playing small scale gigs around his new base in Barcelona. He has also stepped up his involvement in the anti-globalisation movement. Most recently he joined Jose Bove and 100, 000 others at the massive anti-WTO gathering at Larzac in France. The Larzac meeting was so successful that organisers had to take the unprecedented step of getting police to close the roads - there was simply no more room. Everything is looking good for the European Social Forum, to be held in Paris in November.
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