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The Artists Behind La Trampa

a musician playing a hollow-body guitar

La Trampa is a Spanish song that was performed by ToninoCarotone and Manu Chao, two of the most popular musical artists in Spain during the early 2000s. While it eventually became a popular song in Spain, La Trampa actually first became well-known for being the theme song for Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show, an improvisational comedy TV series that aired from 2004 to 2005 and was hosted by Drew Carey, a comedian and actor known for hosting the US version of Whose Line Is It Anyway from 1998 to 2007. The main act of Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show is the segment where several improve games will have to be played in front of a “green screen,” a production technique where the director will add images and videos where the color green is showing on the screen.

While the show only lasted one year and one month, the theme song La Trampa performed by ToninoCarotone and Manu Chao became quite famous in Spain and eventually turned into a modern classic. Who are these artists? And what made them as two of the rising stars in the music industry in the 2000s? Let us find out as we take a look at the life and career of the artists behind La Trampa.

Tonino Carotone

a hollow-body guitar typically used in ska music

ToninoCarotone, whose real name is Antonio de la Cuesta, is a Spanish singer-songwriter born on January 9, 1970, in Burgos, Spain. According to Carotone, he got his stage name “ToninoCarotone,” which means “Tony Pokerface” in English, from his great idol, the Italian singer and pianist Renato Carosone.

Carotone grew up in Pamplona, Spain, and moved to Italy when he was 25 years old. It was during Carotone’s stay in Italy that he was exposed to the music of Renato Carosone, and Carosone’s passion for his craft inspired Carotone to start a music career.  Four years after his move to Italy, Carotone created his popular stage name and release the single “Me Cagoen el Amor) under Virgin Records. From then on, Carotone became popular in Italy, especially when he released his first album titled “Mondo Difficile” in 1999. He would continue to record two more albums, with the last one being “Ciao Mortali,” released in 2008 under Bloom Produzioni.

Manu Chao

a rock band playing on stage

Jose-Manuel Thomas Arthur Chao, better known by his stage name Manu Chao, is a French-Spanish musician born on June 21, 1961, and is considered to be one of the best musical artists in Europe during the 90s and into the 2000s. Manu Chao started his music career as a busker in Paris, and then he would eventually be asked to become part of several bands, including Hot Pants and Los Carayos. It is while joining these bands that Manu Chao developed his diverse musical style, which is heavily influenced by ska and reggae.

Manu Chao got his first big break in the music scene when he joined the band called Mano Negra in 1987. Mano Negra then gained a cult following in the 1990s, thanks to their energetic stage presence and their rather unique musical style that combines the best elements of punk rock, ska, and worldbeat. Unfortunately, the band’s success was shortlived, as they would break up in 1995 due to creative differences and issues with Chao in moving the band from Paris, France to Madrid, Spain.

After Mano Negra broke up, Manu Chao began performing as a solo artist, and it is in his solo career that he began to gain popularity not only in France but also in his family’s home country Spain. Chao released his first solo album titled “Clandestino” in 1998, which peaked at number 1 in France and sold over 5 million copies worldwide. His second album “PróximaEstación: Esperanza” was a massive success, as it peaked at number one in three countries, namely France, Italy, and Spain. However, his third album, the French language-only “Sibérie m’ étaitcontée” did not do as well as his first two albums, as it only peaked at number 38 in the French music charts.

When Chao and ToninoCarotone’s song La Trampa was used in Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show, Chao’s career was given a sudden boost, as he became known in North America and other parts of South America. After La Trampa became popular, Chao began performing live in various stages and arenas around the United States, even though most of his songs are not in English.

Seeing the winning formula between him and Carotone, Chao invited Carotone to a recording studio to collaborate on a song titled “A Cosa,” which would become one of the songs in Chao’s fourth solo album titled “La Radiolina,” released on August 30, 2007, in Spain and September 2007 in other parts of the world. The said album peaked at number 1 in the US Latin and Spanish music charts.

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