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CD Review: Manu Choa

Baionarena (Nacional)

Latin Grammy and sold-out U.S. tour aside, singer-guitarist Manu Chao is hardly a household name in North America. Yet he's an international star, something this excellent live collection taken from an inspired show in France proves. Between the two CDs and single DVD here, Chao offers a little bit of everything. Highlights include the Clash-inspired radical rock of "Raining' in Paradize," the Bad Brains-like schizophrenia of "Forzando Maquina/Mr. Bobby" and the full-on punk-rock assault of "Radio Bemba/El Dorado."

Even if you're not multilingual (Chao sings in French, Spanish, English and Portuguese), you can still hear the urgency in Chao's voice and the passion in the music. Culled from live performances in both the U.S. and abroad, the DVD features scenes from Chao's colorful live show. Because the footage is mundane, the behind-the-scenes material isn't a great selling point. In fact, the group's live energy comes across so well on the two CDs, the DVD feels like a disposable addition. — Jeff Niesel

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