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Although Tio Manuel’s latest opus has long been awaited, it has been worth the wait ! Available
on March 12th, 2008, this third part of Tio’s adventures in the West Indies, 3 Cosas, the new
record of the Parisian Latin-rock band, takes us to a new playing field, an area where conflict
meets hope.
Manu Castillo, celebrated artist of the Parisian scene, is the former guitarist of Wunderbach, a
punk band in the early eighties which eventually reunited for the « Ultime Pogo Tour » in 2005.
With 3 cosas, Manu presents a crafted synthesis of his many influences, among which is an
assumed legacy of Joe Strummer or of Neil Young, for example in Cortez The Killer.
Whereas Rumba Urbana (2002) takes us into a joyful sarabande of ska and flamenco-reggae,
¡Asi es la vida ! (2004), while sticking to the reggae-rock beat, marks the transition between the
first period and the more blues-oriented one of this third record. 3 cosas is a plea for deprived
youth, the discovery of foreign cultures and respect for their roots, although it comes in a more
radical tone, supported by guitars that range from gritty to nostalgic.
The first track, Yoruba, with lyrics from Nicolas Guillén, sets the general frame. With this « Son »,
Tio Manuel surprises us with a languid and yet heavily outlined rumba, related to the Cubans’
passion for their own land. This song, an invitation to a full range crossover as well as a recall of
their African roots, introduces all the themes addressed in the album : unlikely encounters at the
boundaries of civilization, from the Maya jungle (as in SPS) to the American border (the slow
rhythm and the slide guitar of La Vuelta), from the wasted neighbourhoods (Barrio Quemao) to
the suburban melting pot of the huge North American metropolises.
Walking Warrior, with its definitely rock tone, launches the attack. It’s an anthem for the uprooted
and illegal. Then comes ¡A Acabar !, a rebellion chant dedicated to child soldiers all over the
SPS is a different approach to the myth of the New World, promoting the fantasy of a possible
elsewhere with a charming guitar that leads us into the wilderness of Honduras and smuggles us
with Nina Rosa out of the barbed-wire-encircled town into the Caribbean Sea. Alas, reality
catches up in the form of a harmonica-dominated urban dub, Barrio Dub.
Further north, we get into the Democrat sector of Austin, Texas, at the SXSW Festival, where our
Parisian 'Spanish Cowboy' challenges the awesome Cuban Cowboys from New York in a guitar
battle song called ATX.
Back to the roots with Political Dub, a Manichean satire with two voices slamming casually on a
reggae beat. Then 3 cosas, a psychedelic psalmody on childhood, its demands and its
expectations… The very same issues Tio Manuel addresses in Barrio Quemao, where he unveils
his own bold and yet light-hearted youth in the suburbs of Paris, when he was flirting with the
The journey is about to end. After landing us on the shores of Mexico in 1519, Tio Manuel
reminds us what maturity has taught him : the path to reconstruction is a long one and the
wounds we leave to our children are as many scars… Protect childhood, those we raise, those
we forget, those we slaughter, those who are our future.
A soothed maturity and an undiminished watchfulness ; a sometimes disenchanted but yet
fascinated vision of the Americas.