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Headbang in Bogotá

The other Plan Colombia

Coming fast on the steel-enforced heels of Ultrágeno and Argentina's harsh Los Pericos, the reggae and folklore-influenced Chao drank in the love spurred by his extensive touring and songwriting in Colombia over the years. He played songs from his eclectic career -- from the thinking alternative band Mano Negra, to his celebrated solo debut Clandestino, to his not-yet-released current project. Still, the innovator took no chances; he spun off from his deep-throated "Tijuana" to stoke the crowd with a five-minute chant of the word marijuana. Perhaps calmed by the mild hallucinogen, even the hardest cases cheered along as Chao closed with the title track from the new disc, Próxima Estación: Esperanza (Next Stop: Hope). Letting that sentiment linger in the air, he stayed behind after his musicians left the stage. Soaring through the thin air, the civil war, and the no longer thrashing bodies, he let loose that short word so often heard but rarely heeded in Colombia: "Paz" ("peace").

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