Hearing Manu Chao on the radio this morning reminded me of a special period in my life. My mind drifted from the usual drive to work to the start of my time at university – a place where I finally realised that I am not after all the only outsider in the world. A year spent overwhelmingly with Erasmus and international students. Where I mingled and became friends with students from Kenya, Israel, Bangladesh, Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland. Despite my pretty successful integration into the British way of life, my dark-skin and Indian upbringing had to that point made me feel (at times painfully) different from my English school mates. But in this year I finally appreciated the cultural differences and nuances which exist even between European countries which lie so close together on the map. We were all somehow different, and that was a good thing.
With his laid back guitar riffs and lyrics in portuguese, french, english and spanish, Manu Chau represented all of the good things that can come from travel, diversity and an open mind. King of the Bongo indeed.