The staunchly political Chao is difficult to pin down stylistically. The French-born son of Spanish immigrants formed Mano Negra (known to many as the French Clash) in Paris in 1986. He then toured extensively in Latin America, traveling by river barges and playing at any port that would have him. He quickly attracted a circus-like entourage, replete with trapeze artists and magicians. After the tour, Mano Negra disbanded. Chao then formed Radio Bemba and returned to South and Central America, roaming nomadically while recording on a four-track stashed in his rucksack. Chao even bought an old train in order to play gigs in remote jungle villages. This trek resulted in his first solo album, “Clandestino,” which eschewed the full-on mosh mode for a breezy, lounge feel.
Read the full review at The Japan Times Online.