The International Man of Music: Manu Chao Live in Santiago

Estadio Nacional was full to the brim on November 27th; from the stage area to the highest bleacher, people were crammed together for Manu Chao’s highly anticipated performance in Santiago, Chile. Flags from different countries flew side by side as people from an array of different ethnicities, classes and countries danced to Manu Chao’s universal harmonic beats.

Photo by Kendal Montgomery
Photo by Kendal Montgomery

Manu Chao’s vast popularity stems from his global appeal. Writing songs in Spanish, French, Arabic, English or Portuguese, he invites people from all over the world to listen to the powerful messages of his music.

Photo by Kendal Montgomery
Photo by Kendal Montgomery

Many times his lyrics even change from one language to another, giving his songs a sense of worldwide unity, paralleling the ambiance at Estadio Nacional.

The messages in his songs pertain to different worldly social issues and, at times, are underlined with a powerful political discourse. On this night songs like “Politik kills” and “La Vida Tombola” passionately sounded out, which are both social commentaries with political messages that people from all over the globe can relate to.

During the middle of his show, Manu brought onto the stage a Mapuche activist who spoke about the Mapuche fight in Chile. The crowd roared with applause and Manu draped over himself the Mapuche flag for the second half of the performance to show his support of the Mapuche Movement.

Politics aside, Manu Chao put on an exhilarating performance with the help of his crazy backing group, including a drummer, keyboardist and a trumpet player, who all worked together to resonate out his signature sound of ska, punk and reggae.

Photo by Kendal Montgomery
Photo by Kendal Montgomery

The most charismatic and vibrant characters were the bassist and lead guitarists and let’s not forget Manu Chao himself. The trio enjoyed hyping up the audience with their jumping and side-to-side animated dance moves.

Manu Chao loved Santiago. Throughout the show Manu shouted “Para siempre Santiago”—the audience roared with applause. It was a win–win situation: Manu buzzed off the extensive energy-fuelled crowd and the crowd pumped with exaltation, cheering, screaming and dancing the night away to the likes of the popular songs “Clandestino” and “Me gustas tu.”

The packed audience at Estadio Nacional was wild about Manu Chao and his performance. Manu closed at about seven or eight with a political French song that discusses the corruption of politics but the audience wasn't quite done, bringing Manu and his band back for one encore performance after another.

Manu Chao
November, 2009
Santiago, Chile

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