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Meet a chanteur: Manu Chao

I first heard “Le petit jardin” on my car radio on a Saturday morning. The sun was out (in Seattle, so it was unusual) and traffic was light, and I felt shockingly OK with the world around me. In a way, the song sounds almost like Raffi dueling with a reggae band after they’ve all read and discussed Le Petit Prince. When I got home, I lucked out: the lyrics I happened to remember, when googled, led me to the song.

Have a listen for yourself:

Manu Chao, the singer-songwriter, is an interesting mec.

ManuChao05

His parents were Spanish, but moved to France to escape the Franco dictatorship. He grew up surrounded by artists and intellectuals, but the eighties happened and he joined a bunch of bands. He’s done a lot of solo work since then, too, singing in, according to Wikipedia: “French, Spanish, English, Italian, Arabic, Galician, and Portuguese and occasionally in other languages.” Some of his music is rocksome, some is punkish, and sometimes the abovementioned reggae influences come to the foreground. The guy has been a huge success over his long career, but never really in the English-speaking world.

Maybe we should change that.

Bonus: the slightly less Raffi-reggae, sort of alternate-version “Dans mon jardin”:

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