“Manu & Chao…il y’a la mer la-bas au loin”
“Manu & Chao…il y’a la mer la-bas au loin”, a book by Wozniak now available HERE!
Politics, society, cinema… Jacek Wozniak has been drawing the news for Le Canard Enchainé for almost thirty years.
A totally different style exercise with the publication of “Manu & Chao” where the Polish artist invites us to plunge into the universe of the popular Latin singer with whom he has been collaborating for many years. Books, music videos, exhibitions… any artistic field is a good excuse to their creativity.
Real commonplaces of media life, the dykes between the public and private life of a celebrity give birth here to a beautiful illustrated fairytale that has its only moral in getting pleasure and sharing the wonderful and falsely Utopian world of the former leader of Mano Negra.
Unpublished pics, illustrations, skilful collages and jokes pepper the 184 pages of a long and nice journey that leads us to José Manuel Chao.
And who else if not Wozniak, long-standing friend of the clan Chao, could tell better and with such lightness the other side of the coin? After long discussions, mutual explorations and hard work, the idea of “Manu & Chao” was obvious. The musician violates the frontiers of the “star system” offering so much of him, on stage as well as in life. Chao doesn’t cheat. “His mother takes news of him from his songs” explains Wozniak with irony-coloured tenderness. Apart from that, everything is merrily hidden in this new kind of travel book. To see the world through the almost childish eyes of Chao is to allow oneself a pure moment of escape and lightness. With an eye hardened with three decades of weekly satirical broth, the illustrator feels a sly pleasure when shaping this atypical version of a reality full of colours, imaginary animals and musician’s friends. There’s also the parody, of course, yet the whole exudes sincerity. As a true Noah of a time that’s his own, he regularly takes on board everything he finds at the four corners of the world. Sometimes, to escape the heavy shadow of his role but, very often, to enjoy life!
Chao lives to the beat of the rhythms he creates and he cultivates the lovely paradox of the rock-star with a big heart. Everyone knows the stage animal that sets fire to huge audience, and the leader of the anti-globalization struggle despite himself. Very few know him as he is. José Manuel Chao created this character almost spontaneously, because the image one has of him is never well distinct from what he actually is. So we find out he’s a discreet militant reclaiming the civil rights of Madrid prostitutes, or that he’s madly in love with La Colifata, a group of psychiatric patients of a Buenos Aires hospital whose spontaneity he praises, what with mysticism and poetry of daily life.
As Wozniak perfectly says, “everyone would like to live as Manu Chao but Manu Chao lives like everyone”! Even if this is not completely true, we allow ourselves the guilty pleasure to believe it. Page after page, his life becomes ours… Once again!
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Manu Chao…