“Patchanka is the wild sound, for proud souls and lonely hounds”, this was the refrain of the patchanka’s style manifesto song written by Manu Chao and Mano Negra back 1989. Willy-nilly, the French (with Basque origin) musician and band are the most significant exponents of the sound born at the end of the 1980s in the banlieue, suburbios, periferie of French, Spanish and Italian cities. There, the new migration waves coming from North Africa, Caribbean, South America and Eastern Europe brought exciting cultural impulses, next to deep transformations in the social fabric . The result was a melting pot of rich traditions, which was brightly and genuinely embodied by patchanka.
Patchanka draws fully from Latin America rhythms and percussions, Jamaican cadences and upbeats, Arabic harmonies and the expressivity of their strings, Gypsy tempos and use of brass, mixed all together with local urban punk-folk and left wing or even anarchic political drive. The explosive musical blend produced has characterised the European and South American music scene for ten years until the early 2000s and its influence is still felt today.
Ph. © E. Catarina / Stills