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Radio Bemba Sound System

Posted on

Radio Bemba Sound System

Current Status:
In Season
Manu Chao
EMI Latin, Virgin

We gave it an A-

This is a discovery like Columbus’ discovery of America — Chao has been a rock hero across the Latin diaspora since he fronted Clash-conscious rockers Mano Negra in the ’80s. But his anthems of the dispossessed strive for internationalism. Lyrics are Spanish and English, with occasional Portuguese, French, and Italian detours; the music is a mosh pit of surging ska-punk and reggae-rock with mariachi and speed-polka flourishes. This rough-hewn, career-spanning live disc plays like a pirate-radio broadcast, and while the between-song jump cuts jar, the 29-song relay race never flags. A much cooler home-study language course than anything by Berlitz. BORDERLESS CULTURE Chao’s trademark descending-spaceship synth-squeal, which reappears throughout, is a reminder that — in the new world order — ”alien” is a slippery concept.