Chao Cancels Shows Over Political Flap
World music star Manu Chao canceled concerts last night (Sept. 3) in Malaga, Spain, and tonight in Murcia after controversy over the inclusion in his band of a Basque musician, Fermin Muguruza, who waWorld music star Manu Chao canceled concerts last night (Sept. 3) in Malaga, Spain, and tonight in Murcia after controversy over the inclusion in his band of a Basque musician, Fermin Muguruza, who was a candidate for the now illegal Batasuna political party. Batasuna was the political wing of the Basque armed separatist organization ETA, which has allegedly killed more than 800 people in its 35-year struggle for Basque independence.
Chao is finishing a tour of Spain that included a 6,000-capacity gig in Madrid on Aug. 28 and a Saturday performance before 300,000 people at the Son Latinos festival in Tenerife, Canary Islands. Both concerts went off without incident.
But Spain's Association for Victims of Terrorism (AVT) erupted when they learned Chao and Muguruza were to play last night in a Malaga pavilion named after a right-wing city council member murdered by ETA. Authorities in Murcia told Chao he could not play tonight's concert unless Muguruza was dropped. Chao refused to play without Muguruza, who is well known in Spain as the leader of two seminal Basque radical rock bands, Kortatu and Negu Gorriak.
AVT spokesman Daniel Portero, whose judge father was killed by ETA, says Chao concerts with Muguruza "would trample on the dignity of terrorist victims". Chao issued a statement yesterday saying "the attacks on Fermin are tendentious, aggressive, and unjust. They offend because they distort our public image and our most profound ideas."