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Manu Chao – Clandestino (1998)

March 5, 2016


Le beau logo est par Sarca @ caughtmegaming

Made in France Artist #1: Manu Chao


[Album 452/1001]

What it probably feels like for many of my students, trying to decipher what is being said on most French language CDs:


Good news: Manu Chao sings/speaks at a much more decipherable pace.

Listening to music in a second language can be intimidating, he did a fine job of keeping both the music and the lyrics accessible. And he did so while singing in 4 languages!


From my rigorous training in Spanish (1 beginner course + daughter’s Dora books), I was surprised that I was able to decode many of the Spanish lyrics.

I have yet to study Brazilian Portuguese but from his selections here, I wasn’t frightened away from further exploration.Manu_Chao_Clandestino

Clandestino as an album felt like a nice gateway to Manu Chao’s catalogue as a whole. The tracks flowed together seamlessly and considering the diverse languages & rhythms, that’s a noteworthy accomplishment.

As a non-intimidating sample of several sounds & styles, it’s good.

Or should I say, c’est bon. Es bueno. É bom.

From → 1990s

  1. Totally under my radar. Never heard of this guy before. But holy ambition! Spanish and English in the same track? Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese? Amazing!

    • I was impressed with how smoothly it flowed between the languages too – and I’m very pleased that the person who made Clandestino’s wikipedia page wrote down what language each song was in. It made the pie chart nice & easy to create!

      • BEAUTY, eh!

        So do you think Brazilian Portuguese is a language you’re interested in picking up?

      • I’d be keen to learn a few phrases in as many languages as possible – or like the family guy clip, where the guy had a couple absolutely perfect sentences and nothing else could be fun!

      • HAH! Good reference.

        I have always struggled with languages. I’d like to learn Italian.

      • Me too – at one point I knew how to say a few phrases but I’ve since forgotten them.
        When travelling, I remember really enjoying that our phrase books had such essential phrases like “my fax is constantly engaged” – such a typical problem!

  2. Bom dia! I actually have a second cousin who is from Brazil, and speaks fluent English and Portuguese (but I am not Portuguese by lineage). His posts on fb are Portuguese, however.

    • I believe obrigado is thank you in Portuguese – that’s about all I’ve got so far. Oh and now Bom dia too!

  3. Reading these posts Geoff it’s like I’m back in school! Ha! Awesome angle as always! Great stuff…

  4. I know him from one track (a hit) and didn’t follow up. I remember him being a big deal. Good on ya for sticking it out!

    • The only one I knew of his was ‘me gustas tu’ – that might have been the one, but it wasn’t on Clandestino.
      It was a good soundtrack for driving to & from Taranna last weekend (no time for record shopping there alas!)

      • Turns out I have a Manu Chao song here, Bongo Bong, on a 1999 CMJ compilation. It’s on Clandestino!

        Taranna without record shopping? Sorry, that wasn’t an official trip to Taranna, then.

      • haha, too true – I’ll just have to go back!

  5. Hackskeptic permalink

    This is one of the artists in the book I have never heard so I hope I get as much enjoyment as you did. Merci Geoff

  6. I’m aware of this one, but have yet to hear it. Sounds pretty grand!

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