Story by Steve Bloom
Photo by Dawnja
From the reggae/punk of Manu Chao to the suave dance music of Venezuela's Los Amigos Invisibles, worldbeat was the musical flavor of choice at the Celebrate Brooklyn! summer concert series in Prospect Park this past weekend.
In a rare US performance, Manu Chao electrified the sold-out audience on Monday night. Chao, who was born in Spain and raised in Paris, alternates between Bob Marley-style reggae, flamenco-accented guitar pop and intense hardcore/punk. Chao was at his best when he slowed the pace down with such message-oriented songs as "Desaparecido" and "Clandistino" ("Africano clandistino, marijuana illegal").
Los Amigos Invisibles took center stage on Friday night, offering smooth Brazilian grooves combined with with funk, disco and salsa. The sextet led by singer Julio BriceÃ±o formed in 1991, but didn't record until 1996. Many of the songs played were from Venezuelan Zinga Son Vol. 1, their most recent release. Though they mostly sing in Spanish, two English songs, "Ease Your Mind" (reminiscent of the Blackbyrds' '70s jazz-soul) and "Superfucker," stood out.
Their next US shows are August 17 at the Avalon in Hollywood, CA and September 17 at the Austin City Limits festival. They'll also be among the many bands aboard Jam Cruise 5, which leaves from Fort Lauderdale on January 2.