Former leader of the French Punk-Pop band Mano Negra, Manu Chao explores a wider range of musical terrain as a solo artist. Singing in Spanish, French, and English, Chao adopts the voice of the disenfranchised in his work. He's equally comfortable lamenting the "desaparecidos" (disappeared) in Spanish, confessing existential angst in French, or boasting he's the " king of bongo" in English. His main rhythmic template is reggae, and instrumentation is sparse -- guitars, bass, and keyboards with a touch of brass. Many tunes include sound montage: European news broadcasts about the Zapatistas and television and radio white noise phase in and out of the songs. Chao's home-produced work has an air of sincerity rare in the world of pop music, and his rough-hewn vocals display raw talent while he plays his guitar with a deceptive simplicity belying his talent as a songwriter. Well known and loved in Europe, Chao seems poised to conquer the Americas.