Mano Negra

Formed 1987. Disbanded 1995.


Mano Negra was a music band in France, during 1987–1995, fronted by Manu Chao.

The band, founded in 1987 by Chao, his brother Antoine, and his cousin Santiago Casariego in Paris, France, was very influential in Europe and Latin America during the early 1990s. Although it reached mainstream success in countries including the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and Italy, they failed to penetrate the Anglosphere. By 1992 the band got involved in different projects in Latin America that now are considered epic adventures: Cargo 92, where the band traveled to several countries by ship and the "Train of Ice and Fire" that involved traveling through Colombia's rural countryside by train. The band split up around 1995, although many members had already left by 1992. Some follow-up albums and videos were released after the band had split and formed other bands.

Mano Negra mixed a number of styles: punk rock, flamenco, ska, raï, salsa, reggae and African rhythms. The band, which is still popular on three continents, had been among the pioneers of world fusion and are a direct influence on countless bands in Europe and South America. The mix of African, Latin and other rhythms is often called mestizo or patchanka (which is the name of one of their albums). Mano Negra is now considered a cult band and still spreads their spirit to multiple bands around the world.

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