Song of the Day: Mano Negra “Mala Vida”
I’ll never forget the first time I heard Mano Negra. At first I thought they were from Spain, then I thought Paris, then I guessed North Africa, finally I gave up. I turns out that the group was formed in France in the late 1980s by Manu Chao and his brother and his cousin in Paris. Their parents were Cuban-Spanish. Mano Negra was the original “world fusion” band but in the best way. The band was subsequently augmented to include additional guitarists and a horn section. They were punk, they were ska, they were hip-hop, they were rai, they were whatever they wanted to be and they rocked.
The song I picked here Mala Vida was their second single and was released in 1988. Its been covered by Gogol Bordelo and Cafe Tacuba. Mano Negra broke up in 1993, but Manu Chao has had a very successful solo career (including production work for Amadou & Mariam among others) and continues to tour today.