SKA, RAI, POLITICS MELODICALLY BLEND IN LA RADIOLINA

April 21, 2008 at 2:27 am 1 comment

Gaby Chabolla / Adelante
Volume II, Issue 1 (Fall 2007)

Constant rhythms, mantra-like lyrics and characteristic political undertones mark Manu Chao’s recent album, La Radiolina, Italian for small radio.

The album opens with a rallying track. The clamoring voices of ska enfold 13 Días, whose tone is eventually repeated with the addition of police sirens and trumpets later on in Rainin in Paradize, El Hoyo and Panik Panik.

It softens down into a melancholic mood with Tristeza Maleza and crystallizes afterward with A Cosa’s mellow sweetness, “Che cosa vuoi dame? (What do you want from me?) / Che cosa vuoi ancora? (What do you want now?) / Che cosa vuoi di più? (What do you want more of?).”

Amalucada Vida’s Portuguese reggae, and Otro Mundo’s faintly morbid lyrics “Calavera no llora / Serenata de amor (Bones don’t cry / Love serenade)” keep the album eclectic.

A radio announcer’s voice materializes every now and then, discreetly placed at the end of a song or disguised behind lyrics, evoking Chao’s 2001 album, Próxima Estación: Esperanza.

Noteworthy songs include the Spanish guitar-like Me Llaman Calle, and the sudden consciousness of Y Ahora Que?

Siberia’s fast pace enhances its hopeful message, “I believe in you, I believe in love, I believe in hope.” The renowned Serbian filmmaker, Emir Kusturica, directed the video.

La Radiolina oscillates between charged protest and acoustic melancholy. Political themes recur throughout, some subtle, others not as much, such as by Politik Kills’ blatant reference to blood, force, violence and drugs.

It might take a couple of listens, and perhaps even languages, to understand the album’s meaning; it is heavier than former albums. Even with the absence of multilingualism, this assortment of naturally melodic romances is sure to charm the ear. “Che cosa inventare?”

Related links: Manu Chao (MySpace), La Radiolina (Wikipedia)

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Entry filed under: Fall 2007 issue. Tags: , .

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