Born in London to a Colombian mother and English father, Phil Manzanera spent most of his childhood in different parts of the Americas. At six years old, living in Cuba, he encountered his first guitar; a Spanish guitar owned by his mother. His early musical accomplishments were Cuban folksongs, mastered against a backdrop of upheaval during the Cuban Revolution. In Venezuela the eight-year-old Manzanera started experimenting with the sounds of the electric guitar, a cello electric.
During his teenage years he was absorbing and marrying the twin influences of 60’s rock and roll with the Latin American rhythms of the merengue, cumbia and particularly the boleros of the Mexican, Armando Manzanero.
"I was brought up in Havana during the Cuban Revolution, in Hawaii, in Caracas, in Columbia - it was exciting"
Manzanera was determined to join a professional band; by the New Year of 1972, aged 21, he had joined the recently formed Roxy Music. Manzanera was lead guitarist in the line-up comprising Bryan Ferry, Brian Eno, Paul Thompson and Andy Mackay. Roxy’s rise was meteoric; the band credited with a significant stylistic influence over the early 1970’s.
In parallel with Roxy Music, Manzanera pursued solo projects; both recording his own albums and producing for others.
As a writer, producer and solo artist, he has worked and co-written with many of the luminaries of modern music. Manzanera’s state of the art Gallery Studios are located in West London. Artists that have recorded there include Robert Wyatt, Roxy Music, Brian Eno, Hot Chip, David Gilmour, Annie Lennox, Paul Weller, Kevin Ayers, and Chrissie Hynde.
"people who know me just from Roxy Music, are probably quite surprised to hear my trajectory was completely different to Brian Eno or Bryan Ferry, art school and all that"
Lucho Brieva arrived in London in 2003, with the intention of finishing his training as an architect. He has lived in the UK ever since, but his interests have broadened to encompass sculpture, music, interior design and lighting. In 2003, he joined forces with Phil Manzanera after working on a Spanish version of Complicada, a song by Chrissie Hynde, to whom Brieva was married. Over the next five years Brieva and Manzanera began recording the music that would eventually end up on their first release, Corroncho.
The first Corroncho album was a collection of songs based on two Latin men; their trials and tribulations, good and bad points, loves and hates, political correctness and incorrectness but ultimately their good humour, good heart and ability to dance; all illuminating the many social issues in present day South Americas. This second album reunites the pair for Corroncho 2.
The album starts on the beach in Cartagena on New Year’s Eve. Both of the Corronchos are on the seashore when midnight sounds and fireworks are let off. One of them has taken some ayahuasca and the other has drunk too much aguardiente, the local hooch, and they have a collective dream that a white horse with wings (the opening track is called Caballo Blanco) tells them to go to north. It is a clear sign that they need to go to the Promised Land which for most Latinos is the USA and especially New York. They jump in their low- rider car, turn a wrong turn right, and have to travel around the whole of South America to get to Queens.
The songs on the album follow their route, and delve into subject matter and social issues relating to the countries visited in a slightly humorous and politically incorrect way!
The road trip in the Low-rider proved a perfect ‘vehicle’ to show off the musical richness and vitality of the South American countries: salsa, sambra, tango, cumbia, EDM, boleros, fojo, rock, jazz and r&b, while the lyrics reflect regional differences! Finally, they arrive in the Queens barrio, New York, where they find that the Promised land doesn’t live up to its name, with the same inter- Latino prejudices. They are eventually held up by a Latino gangster rapper, who tells them to go back home. The last track Volvi reflects on how the journey has changed them. Or was it all a dream?
Each song, or chapter, in their story is accompanied by its own picture created for the project by Bwokaa; a Brazilian artist living in Barcelona who met Manzanera and Brieva through a mutual friend.
"I met Bwokaa over 10 years ago in Barcelona when he was going out with Lucho's and my friend, Teresa Reyes, who owns the great bar Margarita Blue, off las Ramblas in Barcelona. I decided to go to Barcelona when we started the new album to explain the concept and story behind each track and the results are these prints" Phil Manzanera
When Bwokaa came to London for an exhibition he was a guest of Manzanera's and left as a thank you gift a little painting. This became the album cover for the first Corroncho album and turned into the commission for the series of pictures for Corroncho 2.