Music Clandestino Manu Chao (morceau - 2000)
Clandestino is the chaotic journey of an undocumented illegal immigrant who left his life and his family behind between Ceuta and Gibraltar.
Gibraltar aerial view by Steve (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Gibraltar aerial view by Steve (CC BY-SA 2.0)

“Pa’ una ciudad del norte
Yo me fui a trabajar
Mi vida la dejé
Entre Ceuta y Gibraltar”.

Lyrics of the song Clandestino by Manu Chao

Solo voy con mi pena, Sola va mi condena, Correr es mi destino, Para burlar la ley”, these few words in Spanish by Manu Chao are forever inscribed in the memory of a generation.

This song tells the story of an undocumented exile in Europe. An eventful journey starting in Ceuta and ending in Gibraltar.

Clandestino in Ceuta

After a very good career with the group Mano Negra, Manu Chao continues alone his work. It was in 1998 that the author composed Clandestino.

From the left, Manu Chao creates an anti-globalization anthem where he makes an illegal exile speak in the first person. Alone, this immigrant is an outlaw. To escape his miserable life, he leaves behind his family and miserable life to go to Ceuta. This Spanish enclave bordering Morocco sees thousands of women, men and children arriving every day to cross the Mediterranean Sea.

Clandestino in Gibraltar

The sesame to a better life is in Ceuta. If they manage to get through the high fences of this inward-looking city, the migrants will be able to try to board a boat to Gibraltar.

This British city is enclosed in the Spanish kingdom. Thus, Clandestino seeks to land in Europe through the city of Gibraltar, as the strait of the same name.

Africano clandestino

Alone and like a ghost, Clandestino wanders, disoriented. He is rejected by everyone, by the authorities. It is necessarily affixed with the adjective “clandestine”. It has no name, it is “clandestino”.

All the others – Peruvian, Bolivian or Algerian – are anonymous because they are exiled foreigners. Everything is bad, including, marijuana, deemed illegal in the song.

The album Clandestino sold more than one million copies in France and more than 2.5 million in the rest of the world.


The video for Clandestino, directed by François Bergeron, received the 1st MTV Award Latino.


Gibraltar is a British enclave in Spain.

Since 1704, the United Kingdom has owned this 6 km2 piece of land in the Spanish kingdom.

A British governor administers the rock on behalf of Charles III.

More than 500 flowering plants grow on this arid land. It is also home to 230 Barbary macaques.

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By Damien Canteau

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

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