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Members include Juan Calleros (born Juan Diego Calleros in Mexico), bass; Fher(born Fernando Olvera in Mexico), vocals; Alex González (born Alejandro González), drums; Sergio Vallin (born in Mexico), guitar. Addresses: Record company--WEA Latina, 5201 Blue Lagoon Dr., Suite 200, Miami, FL 33126, website: http://www.warnermusiclatin.com; Warner Music Mexico, P.O. Box 7-1238, Mexico City, Mexico 7, D.F., website: http://www.warnermusicmexico.com. Website--Mana Official Website: http://www.mana.com.mx.

As Mexico's most successful rock group of the past generation, Maná has sometimes been described as a Latin version of such mainstream American rock acts as Styx or REO Speedwagon. Yet the group has consistently explored new musical terrain, featuring reggae- and calypso-style tunes on some releases in addition to its cache of rock songs and romantic ballads. In 2000, over a decade after its first release, the group had its best year ever, receiving the Spirit of Hope Award from Billboard magazine and netting three awards at the first annual Latin Grammy Awards. Outside the studio, Maná also sponsors the Selva Negra (Black Forest) philanthropic foundation whose work includes efforts to save endangered animal life (such as sea turtles and the Mexican wolf) and reforest areas stripped by logging and farming throughout Central and South America.

Maná's roots go back almost a quarter century to Guadalajara, Mexico's second-largest city. Although Mexico City, about 340 miles to the southeast, was the unquestioned cultural and political capital of the nation, in the late 1970s a vibrant underground rock scene began to develop in Guadalajara. One group to emerge from this culture was Green Hat, formed by singer Fernando Olvera (nicknamed Fher), bassist Juan Diego Calleros, and guitarist Ulises Calleros. The rock group signed a recording deal and released two albums, Sombrero Verde in 1981 and A Ritmo de Rock in 1983. Unfortunately, sales were disappointing, and Green Hat became defunct shortly thereafter.

Fher and the Calleros brothers decided to restart their careers with a new lineup in 1985. Alejandro González joined the new group, named Maná, as its drummer. It took another two years of touring small clubs, however, before the band attracted interest from a record label. Eventually, they signed with Warner Music Mexico and set to work on their first release, Falta amor, which came out in 1989. At first the release looked like it would suffer the same fate as Green Hat's two albums, with disappointing sales for almost two years, until a track from the record, "Rayando el sol," kickstarted its sales. With a number of other hits on the record, Falta amor became a sleeper hit, and the release of a Maná follow-up was assured.

Found International Success

In contrast to the group's debut, their 1992 release ¿Dónde jugarán los niños? was an instant success, selling over 1.5 million copies in Mexico alone, where a series of tracks hit the charts. To promote the release, Maná began an international tour. Their success in Spain, where the album sold over 90,000 copies, was particularly noteworthy, as few Mexican acts had achieved any degree of popularity in Europe up to that time. The band also started to make headway north of the Mexican border, where Dónde jugarán los niños? stayed on Billboard's Latin albums chart for a total of 97 weeks after its release; few other albums could match its longevity.

Personnel changes followed the band's initial success. In 1992 Ulises Calleros became the band's manager and was replaced by César López on guitar. A keyboardist, Iván González, also joined the lineup. They left after less than two years, however, and Maná performed for a brief period as a trio. During this time the group continued to tour extensively and recorded a live album, Maná en vivo, which was released in 1994. The following year, Sergio Vallin joined the group on guitar after a talent search that spanned South and Central America. It was this quartet--Fher, Juan Calleros, Alex González, and Sergio Vallin--that became most familiar to Maná's fans.

Maná confirmed its status as a leading Latin pop-rock group in 1995 with a number of diverse projects. The group contributed the track "Celoso" to Francis Ford Coppola's movie My Family, and later recorded a cover version of the classic Led Zepplin song "Fool in the Rain" for the tribute album Encomium. Its biggest release, however, was its third original album, Cuando los angeles lloran. Another hit throughout South and Central America, it also earned gold certification in the United States. Worldwide, the album sold over 1.5 million copies in the year after its initial release; it also received the band's first Grammy Award nomination, for Best Latin Pop Performance.

The band's success was not without its critics, however. In the early 1990s the rock en español movement dominated Mexico's music scene with harder-edged, guitar-based sounds at a time when Maná was recording more melodic ballads. As the most commercially successful act in the country, the group was blamed for making Mexican rock music more mainstream. As radio deejay Jordi Soler told Billboard in a profile of Mexico's music industry in November of 1994, "The record labels are grabbing the few rock acts they have and trying to integrate them into shows broadcast on Televisa [a major broadcasting network].... What will happen is that Mexico's rock artists will disappear into a medium that robs the identity of the most familiar acts."

Founded Selva Negra

In 1995 the members of Maná drew upon their interests in social and environmental issues to form the philanthropic foundation Selva Negra (Black Forest). The group had already tackled such issues in their lyrics, but the foundation allowed them to fund the causes they supported more effectively, including reforestation efforts in Mexico, Columbia, and Chile. Selva Negra also solicited the support of Mexico's government in efforts to save the sea turtle by raising 140,000 turtle eggs for release on the country's Pacific coast. Maná also used their album releases and concert tours to promote environmental awareness. On one tour, the group gave out tree seedlings and encouraged people to plant them; it also donated the proceeds from T-shirt sales to an educational program and campaign to save the Mexican wolf. In April of 2000 Billboard announced that Maná would receive its annual Spirit of Hope Award for its philanthropic work "as an environmentally concerned band willing to actively participate in projects that will improve ecological conditions in Mexico and Latin America."

The 1997 release of Sueños liquidos marked another milestone for Maná as the album hit number one on the Billboard Latin Albums chart while debuting at number 67 on the Billboard 200. In light of the continuing criticism of the group as a lesser counterpart to harder-edged acts, the occasion caused John Lannert and Enor Paiano of the magazine to write in November of 1997, "Clearly, Maná's mainstream sound and commercial achievements run counter to the underground sentiments of Spanish rock's faithful. Plainly put, it just is not hip to like Maná." The writers added, "Yet it is Maná's very commercial success that can help grow the still-budding rock en español movement.... Rock-directed acts such as Maná are the artists who can drive the Spanish rock train because its universal, middle-ground appeal, which transcends local rock tastes, is what will entice record labels to sign and develop like-minded artists."

Received Multiple Latin Grammy Awards

In 1999 the band recorded a special album for the MTV Unplugged series. One of the tracks, "Se me olvido otra vez," subsequently earned the band an award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal at the first Latin Grammy Awards in 2000. That was not the only award bestowed upon Maná that night, however, as the group picked up two additional awards, including Record of the Year for its collaboration on "Corazón espinado" with Carlos Santana.

For its next original full-length album, the band expected to work with the guitarist again; as Alex González told Billboard in October of 2001, "Santana owes us [a] favor [for] 'Corazón espinado.' He's already said he's willing and able, and he's definitely one person we'd like to have on the album." In addition to preparing for the project, the band also continued its philanthropic efforts, including an appearance with Alanis Morissette, Pearl Jam, and R.E.M. to raise money for the United Nations' hunger relief programs. "Our idea is to join these people and [let] them [know that] many of [their] neighbors are in the same situation." González continued, "and if we can make this known and plan future concerts to raise money for these countries, we'll have accomplished our mission."

by Timothy Borden

Maná's Career

Group formed in Guadalajara, Mexico, under the name Green Hat, late 1970s; made major-label debut as Maná with Falta amor, 1989; released another ten albums, including ¿Dónde jugarán los niños?, Cuando los angeles lloran, Sueños liquidos, and MTV Unplugged, 1992-2001.

Maná's Awards

Latin Grammy Award, Record of the Year for Corazón espinado, 2000; Latin Grammy Award, Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for "Corazón espinado," 2000; Latin Grammy Award, Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for "Se me olvidó otra vez," 2000; Billboard Spirit of Hope Award, 2000.

Famous Works

Further Reading



Maná Lyrics

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Visitor Comments Add a comment…

over 15 years ago

Rayando el Sol... citando, "Es mas facil llegar al sol que a tu corazon" - Que descubrimiento! ya hace un buen rato y continua el encanto. Saludos a mi primo "Quintana" desde Seattle. Lourdes.

about 16 years ago

Rayando el Sol... citando, "Es mas facil llegar al sol que a tu corazon" - Que descubrimiento! ya hace un buen rato y continua el encanto. Saludos a mi primo "Quintana" desde Seattle. Lourdes.