“When Manu met Rose…….
Manu Chao met Calypso Rose at the Trinidad and Tobago carnival in 2015.
“He came round to my hotel wearing old slippers, shorts and a battered small guitar,” she says. He charmed her, and they played music together for hours. “If he wasn’t taken, I’d be very happy to be Mrs Chao.”
The two rebel stars hit it off so well they ended up working together on Calypso Rose’s 2016 album “Far From Home.” More than 60 years after writing her first song, that album’s utterly irresistible mix of old and modern calypso, soca, with a dash of reggae and Chao’s trademark guitar, became the biggest international selling album of her life. The follow-up album 2018’s “So Calypso” also on Because Music solidified her new global fan-base.
This year, at 78, she was the oldest ever artist to star at the Coachella Festival. Now the duo are releasing a red hot update of Manu Chao’s classic hit from 1998 “Clandestino” – with its lyrics about illegal migrants, who are specks in the ocean or ghosts in the city, lost with no papers. Calypso Rose sings new words about being stranded at sea “the land in front don’t want me, the land behind me burns”. The song has, sadly, even more relevance and urgency than when it was first recorded. “When I saw these things on television, I cried that this should be happening in the 21st century.”
A graphic video, directed by Wise Bird studio, is released on the same day as the single. The vibrant video suggests “we value what ‘the clandestine’ can bring. They are not just shadows that society would not like to see.” Both Manu and Rose have a long history of music about the dispossessed and marginalised. When she was young, church groups tried to stop her performing; calypso was a “man’s domain”. On “Far From Home”, she reprised her 1969 song “No Madame”, which criticised the treatment of domestic servants and has been credited with spurring legal changes to improve servants’ conditions in her home country.”