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Mana - Mexico's Super Rockers

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Mana

Mana

Mana: The Band (2009):

  • Fher Olvera – lead vocalist
  • Juan Diego Calleros – bass guitar
  • Sergio Vallin – lead guitar
  • Alex Gonzalez – drums

In the 1980s while the world was listening and performing rock, Latin bands were still tentatively approaching the genre. Although there were abundant rock lovers all over the Latin speaking world, Latin bands were still finding their way through the music while primarily performing covers of popular English-language hits. The music that became known as ‘rock en espanol’ was incubating as Latin rockers started composing original songs performed in Spanish with lyrics that told of their own experience.

One of the first major Latin bands to successfully bring rock in Spanish to a wide audience was Mexico’s Mana.

Early Days: Sombrero Verde:

It’s tough to think of anything that goes together as well as rock and teenage boys. Guadalajara, Mexico was no different than the rest of the world as three of these young men, inspired by Guadalajara’s underground rock movement, got together to form a band. The musically like-minded friends were singer Ferdinand ‘Fher’ Olvera and brothers Juan Diego Calleros (bass) and Ulises Calleros (guitar). The band was named ‘Sombrero Verde” (Green Hat).

Sombrero Verde was luckier than many similar bands; they signed a record deal and released 2 albums: Sombrero Verde in 1981 and A Ritmo de Rock in 1983. But their luck seemed to wane as neither of the albums really garnered much enthusiasm and record sales were nothing to write home about.

From Sombrero Verde to Mana:

In 1985, Olvera and company regrouped with the addition of a drummer, Alex Gonzales, and a new name, Mana (named after the Polynesian 'positive energy'). Four years later, they signed with Warner Music and released Falta Amor in 1989. The album was slow to catch on but, with the help of the track “Rayando El Sol,” the album starting catching on with the public.

1990s:

In 1992, original band member Ulises Calleros left the line-up and eventually became the band's manager. For their next album, Donde Jugaran Los Ninos?, Mana added keyboardist Ivan Gonzalez and guitarist Cesar Lopez. Donde Jugaran Los Ninos? was Mana’s breakthrough album with over a million in sales and 97 weeks on Billboard’s Latin album charts.

Gonzalez and Lopez didn’t stay with the band for long and Mana took to the road as a trio consisting of the original musicians. In 1995, Mana went back to performing as a quartet with the addition of Sergio Vallin on guitar. Vallin was selected for the role after a large talent search that ended with the discovery of Vallin in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

The new quartet released Cuando Los Angeles Lloran in 1996 and it earned them their first Grammy nomination. The album also spawned the hit singles “Dejame Entrar,” “No Ha Parado de Llover” and “Hundido En Un Rincon.”

The Selva Negra Foundation:

With their growing popularity and success, Mana addressed an issue dear to their heart: the environment. They formed the Selva Negra Foundation in 1995, financing and supporting important projects aimed at protecting the environment.

'Suenos Liquidos':

Keeping to the theme, the band next released Suenos Liquidos in 1998. With the sea around Puerto Vallarta as inspiration, Suenos Liquidos mixed rock with various Latin rhythms, from bossa nova to flamenco. Mana had achieved a new level of popularity; the album received a simultaneous worldwide release in 36 countries and won the band their first Grammy award. It also contained the hit singles “El Muelle de San Blas,” “Hechicera” and “Clavade en un Bar.”

In the last decade Mana’s popularity has continued to grow. With the release of Amar Es Combatir in 2006 and Ardo El Cielo in 2008, both of which almost immediately reached the #1 spot on Billboard’s Latin charts, the band that modestly started in Guadalajara over 2 decades ago is now easily one of the most popular rock/pop groups in the Spanish speaking world.

Mana Discography

List of Music Awards Received by Mana

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