Probably the biggest of the Rock en Espanol bands, Mexican group Mana has a long history. The core members started recording together under another name in the early 1980s, finally releasing the debut Mana album in 1988. Their sound mixes traditional Mexican and pan-Latin elements with reggae grooves and a heavy '80s-rock influence. There's a strong socio-political foundation to the band's lyrics, borne out by the members' social activism, and marking them as a "people's band." As a massive international presence, Mana has collaborated with Carlos Santana and Ruben Blades, and has earned numerous Grammys, paving the way for the success of younger Rock en Espanol artists.
Maná is a popular Latin American Mexican rock band from Guadalajara whose career has spanned almost three decades. They have earned three Grammy Awards, five Latin Grammy Awards, one Premios Juventud award, four Billboard Latin Music Awards and 12 Premios Lo Nuestro awards. Their sound has been described as being anywhere from pop rock, latin pop, calypso to reggae. They initially received notoriety and commercial success in Latin America and Spain and have since gained popularity and exposure in the US, Western Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. They have sold more than 20 million albums.
The history of Sombrero Verde (Green Hat) began in 1978, when a group of young men from Guadalajara decided to reunite and play various songs from groups that they admired; like the Beatles and Led Zeppelin. It was formed by José Fernando "Fher" Olvera (singer), Gustavo Orozco (electric guitar) and the Calleros Brothers: Juan Diego (bass), Ulises (electric guitar) and Abraham (Drums). Initially they had been called The Green Hat Spies, but soon after they shortened it to Green Hat. Soon after that, focusing on their Latin roots and repertoire to Spanish, they changed their name to Sombrero Verde (translated exactly as Green Hat).
In 1981 they managed to release their first album to the public: It was called "Sombrero Verde, con Ariola"; Vampiro, Professor, Long Time, and Despiértate were some of the songs found on the album. Later, in 1983 they released "A Tiempo de Rock con Fonovisa"; Laura, Hechos Nada Mas, and Me Voy al Mar were some of the songs found on this album. These two albums had little success; however, this did not stop the band.
In 1991, they added two new members to the group, Iván González on keyboards and César "Vampiro" López on guitar. Ulises Calleros no longer performed with the group, but became one of their managers. On April 14, 1994, the band released ¿Dónde Jugarán Los Niños?, an album that spawned many hits (Vivir Sin Aire, Oye Mi Amor, Como Te Deseo) and cemented Maná's status as a bona-fide supergroup. Buoyed by their success, the band undertook an international tour with 268 concerts in 17 countries.
In 1994, Iván González and César López left the group. Olvera, Alex González, and Juan Calleros continued to perform as a trio and released a live album titled Maná en Vivo with the collaboration of Gustavo Orozco on guitar, Sheila Ríos on vocals, and Juan Carlos Toribio on keyboards.
In 1994, Sergio Vallín was brought in to replace César on guitar. The group released Cuando los Ángeles Lloran. The group also started a foundation that year, Selva Negra, to advocate for ecological causes.
In 1997, the group released Sueños Líquidos, recorded in Puerto Vallarta, which hit the markets in 36 countries simultaneously. The recording received a Grammy as Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album. They also released a retrospective album for distribution in Spain called Todo Maná.
In 2002, the group released their fifth album, Revolución de Amor, which garnered Maná their fourth Grammy.
In 2006, after a four-year hiatus, they released their sixth album, Amar es Combatir. It reached #4 on the Billboard Top 200 in its first week, selling over 60,000 copies in the first week (according to Billboard.com). Their first single off the album, Labios Compartidos, has been at the top of the music charts since its debut in July when they played the song live at the Premios Juventud.
On March 29, 2007, Puerto Rico's Channel 4, WAPA's News program, reported that Maná publicly supported Puerto Rico's prospective independence. In an interview that followed the aforementioned news announcement, the members of Maná were interviewed by Channel 4 (WAPA) journalist, Rafael Lenín López, who asked them what they thought about Puerto Rico. Maná members confirmed that they support the Puerto Rican Independence Movement and favor greater sovereignty for the Latin American and Caribbean island-nation.
Various of their songs have political inspirations. The liner notes for "Me Voy a Convertir en Un Ave," on the album Sueños Líquidos, for example, notes that the song is "inspired by the book Pedro y el capitán by Mario Benedetti and dedicated to all those who, for defending an ideal of justice, are persecuted or find themselves imprisoned. To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation communities for peace and dignity