Mano Negra

Genres: World Music
Decades Active: 1980s 1990s 2000s


This French band was formed in 1986 by Manu Chao (José-Manuel Thomas Arthur Chao, 26 June 1961, Paris, France; guitar/vocals), his brother Antonio Chao (trumpet), and his cousin Santiago Casiriego (drums). Formed from the remnants of the Paris-based rockabilly outfit Les Hot Pants, the trio set about forming a new unit which would reflect both their love of UK punk and the vibrant multi-culturalism of their native France, and provide an outlet for their deeply held political and social beliefs. Named after an Andalusian anarchist organisation, Mano Negra enjoyed a French hit with their first single ‘Mala Vida’. A recording contract with Virgin Records followed, much to the disgust of some of the band’s more ideological followers. Naming their style ‘patchanka’, the band’s recordings demonstrated their multi-cultural eclecticism, embracing punk, ska, reggae and hip-hop, but their anarchist principles hindered any significant...

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