He’s known for his politically charged music… And, now Manu Chao is using one of his classic songs to denounce the conditions undocumented immigrants are forced to endure at Arizona’s Maricopa County Jail.
The 50-year-old Spanish singer/songwriter has released a new music video for his classic migrant song “Clandestino.” The new version features the singer and one of his guitarists singing in front of the infamous jail’s tent city section, where detainees must tolerate the intense heat in summer and sub-freezing temperatures in winter.
“The particulars were the result of the work of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, who met after a concert with Chao in California a year ago to talk with him about the situation being experienced by immigrants in Arizona,” the video’s director Alex Rivera told EFE.
After wrapping up his U.S. tour at the Festival of Resistance in Phoenix, Chao fulfilled a promise to offer a free concert in protest of the implementation of Arizona’s harsh anti-immigrant law in September.
During his visit to the state, Chao took advantage of his presence there to record this new version of “Clandestino” in front of the tent city jail run by controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who once called it his ‘concentration camp’. The special Arizona edition of the tune features some lyrical changes as Chao sings “Mexicano, clandestino! Hondureño, clandestino! Guatemalteco, clandestino! Maricopa, ilegal!” emphatically pointing his thumb to the tent city jail behind him after the last line.
“We wanted to do something powerful about what’s happening in Arizona. That’s how the idea of filming ‘Clandestino’ in front of Arpaio’s infamous jail came up,” said Rivera.