Manu Chao Performs in Cuba


Manu Chao (José Manuel Tomás Arturo Chao) and his group Radio Bemba recently performed for students at the University of Havana. He will be in concert next Monday at the Augusto César Sandino Stadium in Santa Clara, Cuba with an array of Cuban artists in homage to Ernesto Che Guevara.

In an interview with Juventud rebelde, Chao traces back the influences of Cuba, Cubans, and Cuban music on his artistic trajectory. He will never forget that famed Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier came to visit his father, foremost Galician intellectual Ramón Chao, and brought him maracas (the first percussion instrument he ever held) as a gift.  He was around five or six years old and living in the Paris of the seventies. His father, author of books such as Conversaciones con Alejo Carpentier [Conversations with Alejo Carpentier] and Porque Cuba eres tú [Because You Are Cuba] among others, told him that Carpentier insisted that Chao was musically gifted. Moreover, he feels particularly indebted to the Cuban music he grew up listening to and to singers like Bola de Nieve, whose song “Madre Perfecta” was one of his favorites.

Chao expressed his profound admiration for Cuba and, not only for the music, but for the Cuban sense of humor and “for everything they have achieved in spite of the embargo.” He added that, although he is of Franco-Spanish in origin, he holds a special relationship and affinity with Latin America and feels more at home  there than in Paris.

For full article (in Spanish), call

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