I have just finished reading this and would highly recommend to fans or anyone who has ever had a passing interest in this enigmatic artist. Manu has such an interesting story to tell, yet seems rather reluctant to tell it and to Peter Culshaw's credit that he gains his trust and doesn't give up! I liked the way he still remains an elusive figure at the end of the book. You learn all about his fascinating life story and many adventures, but it doesn't take away from the mystery that surrounds him. Will make you want to revisit all of his songs...and what a joy.
I had not heard of Manu Chao before reading this book yet found it compelling. Peter Culshaw paints the narrative of Manu Chao's life in vivid colours against the backdrop of the prevailing social/political landscape. All one needs to enjoy the book is an interest in music and politics. It was a gamble writing the last third of the book in travelgoue style but Culshaw kept the focus firmly on Manu Chao and thus brought the reader to within touching distance of him. I am now a Manu Chao fan.
Peter Culshaw seems to have the nose for musical enigma. He has whittled small nuggets of information from what must have been a fairly uncooperative subject. This humble and very much alive musical genius is someone we may all aspire to meet and chew the fat. I wonder if I will ever have that opportunity?
This really is a great read. I've been listening to Manu Chao only since his solo releases; learning about everything that had gone before puts a lot of things into place and has opened me up to a whole slew of new to me music.
I didn't know much about Manu Chao's music - apart from a live ‘Clandestino’ on a limited edition cd ‘Live at Glastonbury’s Jazz World Stage’ and his work on Amadou & Mariam’s ‘Dimanche à Bamako.’ But as soon as I finished this book I bought Manu’s first two solo albums ‘ Clandestino’ and ‘Esperanza’, both of which, with their joyous fusion of Latin and reggae beats, I've had on constant rotation ever since. A fascinating well-written biog from well respected music journalist, Peter Culshaw (the ‘Indiana Jones of world music’ according to the late Malcolm Maclaren) who writes from a musician’s as well as a journalist’s perspective. Recommended.
Part biography, part travelogue but mostly about the music, this is an enjoyable book following Manu Chao's early life, development as a musician and how he has dealt or not with success. The most interesting parts for me were about the early development of his music and background in Paris and the parts travelling in South America.
It's written in a clear direct style with some interesting black and white photographs. Enjoy the journey.
A surprising read as i'd barely heard of Manu Chao. Despite that I really enjoyed this book. Mostly because I learnt a lot about the kind of world politics that are not often covered. About mexican drugs gangs, about african/Catholic religious cults, the Algerian Saharan refugee situation and even the intricacies of Brazilian street music. It also takes us to Paris, Argentina, Senegal, Columbia, the US, Barcelona, not to mention Southend and Brixton. Manu's life does seem to be lived on a global roller coaster and Peter Culshaw does a fine job with what must have been a tricky subject. Extremely well written and hard to put down. And it really makes me want to get to know the music of this intriguing nomadic artist. I love the way Manu tries to reject the whole fame thing and in many ways seems to succeed. I feel Peter Culshaw respects this.