WATCH: Manu Chao Announces First Album in 17 Years With New Song ‘São Paulo Motoboy’

Lead Photo: Photo by Moises Saman.
Photo by Moises Saman.
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Today (June 26), Manu Chao is announcing his first album in 17 years titled Viva Tu. Along with the announcement, the French rock en español icon also dropped a new single, “São Paulo Motoboy.”

The track, a rocksteady-influenced, easy-going jam that wouldn’t feel out of place in any of his previous albums, is a homage to delivery people and couriers from the titular Brazilian city. The track gives recognition to those who pretty much run the place, risking their lives through its heavily transited roads. Likewise, the video follows a delivery person around the city who carries a backpack with the legend “carregando injustiçia nas costas” (“carrying injustice on your back”), commenting on the little compensation these people get for such an important job. 

“São Paulo is a breathing beast. And the couriers are the blood running through its veins, keeping it alive,” Chao said in a press release.

Although “São Paulo Motoboy” speaks about the experience of Brazilian motorized couriers — in Portuguese, no less — it’s, of course, not a phenomenon exclusive to that city. Like the best Manu Chao songs, the track tackles a particular instance that results in a universal feeling, that of precariousness in the line of work, specifically for those whose economic reality can be pretty dire. In other words, it’s an expected song from the singer-songwriter without repeating himself; it sounds like he’s still following his own path, sounding as fresh as he did more than 25 years ago.

Likewise, his upcoming album Viva Tú takes similar inspirations as his classics like Clandestino and Próxima Estación: Esperanza. The 13 songs that make up the LP were inspired by his travels and observations on people’s everyday lives while also addressing the current state of the world. Among them, is the collaboration with Willie Nelson, “Heaven’s Bad Day.” Lyrics have been written in Spanish, French, Portuguese and English. Viva Tú will come out on Sept. 30. It’s his first full-length album since 2007’s La Radiolina.

Back in May, Manu Chao shared the title track of his new album. In the past few years, he has mostly been collaborating with different artists, including Bomba Estéreo, Chalart58, and Rumbakana. 

Watch the music video for “São Paulo Motoboy below.