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Historia De Maná

The story of Maná did not begin in one of those laboratories where future rock stars are created.
Instead, it began in the streets of Guadalajara, in the state of Jalisco in the great country of Mexico. Formed in the mid 1970’s, Fernando Olvera, Gustavo Orozco and brothers Juan, Ulises and Abraham Calleros began as a poor garage band known as the “Green Hat Spies". The band traveled through the slums of Guadalajara, making their wages by playing at social gatherings such as weddings, graduations and quinceañeras.
Later changing their name to "Sombrero Verde", they met Ricardo Ochoa, who would produce their first albums in Mexico City. They also changed their song repertoire in English to original Spanish songs.
In 1981, the band recorded their first album, for a multinational record company, entitled "Sombrero Verde"(1981).
However, this album along with their second release entitled "A Tiempo de Rock" (1983) were not noticed.
In 1985 some changes were made in the band; Abraham Calleros and Gustavo Orozco didn't see the group going anywhere and left the band. With Abraham and Gustavo out of the picture, the line-up stood as: Fher Olvera (vocals), Juan Diego Calleros (bass) and his brother Ulises (guitar).
After a brief search a new drummer, named Alejandro Gonzalez with a Cuban-Colombian decent was added.
After re-grouping they decided to change the band's name to "MANA".
In 1988 still under Polygram Records "Mana" released their first album with their new name, but like before the self titled record went nowhere. The band continued to play in small alternative venues, until Warner Music Mexico signed them to the label.
In 1989 the band released its first record under the new record company, entitled "Falta Amor" (1989). Curiously though the record was not an immediate success. Not until two years after its release, when the song "Rayando el Sol" became a hit, did the record become a success. Other hit songs from that record include "Perdido En Un Barco", "Buscandola" and "Agotado".
Their second album to the label entitled "Donde Jugaran Los Ninos" (1992) was in 1992.
Two new band members were added to the line up during that same year, Ivan Gonzalez (keyboards) and Cesar"Vampiro"Lopez (guitar).
Founding member and old guitarist Ulises, stepped behind the scene to be one of the band's managers.
During that same year the album sales surpassed 1.5 million units in Mexico alone (certified by both AMPROFON and SACM), placing a record number of hits on Mexican radio with 8 charting singles.
By 1997, the album sales exceeded 3.5 million units worldwide. An incredible feat for Latin rock! MANA's sound, a mix of fresh-eclectic pop rock with reggae and afro-latin rhythms, keeps captivating audiences across continents.
After many media appearances and with strong support from the record company, a long series of sold out performances followed throughout Mexico, where the band played initially in clubs and later filled dance halls, theaters and stadiums.
The globalization of MANA began in 1993, with major promotional and concert tours across Central America, South America, Spain and Spanish speaking communities in the US. Such tours were very successful and positioned the band as idols in such South American countries such as Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela and Argentina. Argentina and Spain were two territories that were not easy to break into.
Historically it had been nearly impossible for a Latin artist, other than from native decent, to break into these territories. But after continued perseverance and enthusiasm the single "Vivir sin aire" charted into the top of both of these countries charts, a feat that had only been accomplished by the Mexican band "Los Panchos" 26 years earlier.
In 1993 a series of events took place that few Latin artists had accomplished. In the July 17th edition of Billboard, two of MANA's concerts that took place in Mexico, at Palacio de Los Deportes appeared in the Boxcore section; placing MANA second at the ten best selling concerts for the month in the whole world! "Donde Jugaran los Ninos" positioned itself in the top 50 Billboard Latin Albums for more than 97 weeks. During this time the video for "Vivir sin Aire" won an MTV award for best video of the year. Other awards followed such as Billboards for best rock-pop album and group.
In the final stretch of this incredible year, Ivan Gonzalez and Cesar "Vampiro" Lopez decided to abandon the band, they left together to help form the alternative new band "Azul Violeta" and then Cesar "Vampiro", left Ivan & "Azul Violeta" to join "Jaguares".
For an instant MANA's future was in doubt. For some strange reason no one had paid attention to the albums credits, where it states that
Fher Olvera and Alex Gonzalez were the ones who had written and composed all of the songs to date.
The duo along with Juan Calleros were in charge of their musical arrangements along with the production of their albums. With this, the "MANA" formula stayed intact.
With their new and well-deserved status as international stars, the trio released a double album "Mana En Vivo"(1994).
The album was recorded during their successful tour that took place in two continents, more than seventeen countries, with a total of 178 performances.
Once again, Billboard Magazine awarded the band Best Pop/Rock performance Album award.
Other impressive accomplishments that occurred that same year were the inclusion of MANA at the Montreaux Jazz Festival and the Midem conference, which took place in Switzerland and in France respectively.
As well as the five sold out night that the band played at the Auditorio Nacional in Mexico City, a feat that had never before been done.
In order to complete the original four-piece lineup, a new guitar player had been chosen. After over 80 guitarists from Mexico, Argentina Chile and the US were offered auditions, a Mexican guitarist by the name of Sergio Vallin was given the opportunity.
The band started a long period of rehearsals and practiced new arrangements which ended up on their following release entitled "Cuando Los Angeles Lloran" (1995).
The new record, which was released three years after their smash breakthrough "Donde Jugaran los Ninos", was simultaneously released in 21 countries. The record quickly became a gold and platinum release in various countries.
In January of 1995, at the request of film director Francis Ford Coppola, the band recorded a song by "Los Panchos" entitled "Celoso" for the Soundtrack of "Mi Familia/My Family", the film he was producing for director Gregory Nava.
During that same year the band was given the honor of being the only Latin artist to be selected to record a song for a tribute album to Led Zeppelin - "Encomium", for which the band recorded a Spanish version of "Fool In The Rain".
With a new record under their belt, the cover of "Fool in The Rain" and the with a song on the "My Family" soundtrack the band initiated a new tour which took them to thirteen countries. The 52 dates of the tour sold over 400,000 tickets. 1995 was a big year for the band. "MANA" once again won the Billboard award for best pop rock album of the year.
At the same time the record "Cuando Los Angeles Lloran" was certified gold and platinum in Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, Uruguay, Spain and throughout Central America. All this within a five month period since the record release.
During a visit to Spain the band played in front of 25,000 people at the bull-fighting ring "Las Ventas". That performance marked the first time that a Latin band attracts a crowd of that size in Spain. The final months of 1995 saw new awards and recognition given to the band.
The album Encomium, the Led Zeppelin tribute, was certified gold by RIAA, and the band own record Cuando Los Angeles Lloran was also certified gold by the RIAA, for sales exceeding 500,000 units in the U.S.
The start of 1996 was of great surprise and joy, when the band was nominated for the greatest award of all, a Grammy for Best Latin Pop Performance for the recording of Cuando Los Angeles Lloran.
The Grammy nomination enabled the band to open up new markets for Spanish rock. During the second half of 1996, the band continued to tour the Mexican territory. A ticket sales count at the midpoint of the tour totaled 328,128 tickets sold! The Mexican people gave their internationally known idols an incredible warm welcome by filling bull fighting ring, auditoriums and stadiums.
That same year the band traveled to Miami, to receive for the 3rd. year in a row, the Billboard Magazine award for Best Latin Pop Rock Album. This last award placed MANA at a record setting stage by receiving a total of 6 Billboard awards in a 3 year period. At the same time the three videos released for Cuando Los Angeles Lloran received nominations and won awards in 18 different countries.
The video for the song Dejame Entrar was considered one of the best videos in 1995 in the Iberian Peninsula. Likewise, the video for No ha Parado de Llover was placed in heavy rotation on music channels in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and the US. Placing it on top of the video charts of these countries for 4 consecutive weeks.
The follow-up video, Hundido en un Rincon, was also simultaneously placed in heavy rotation in more than 8 national video channels, and gathered several video awards. An extensive US tour followed, where " the band played a total of 15 sold out shows.
The tour included performances in: Boston,San Diego, Washington DC, Santa Barbara, New York, Atlanta, Chicago, New Orleans, Sacramento, Miami, San Jose, Phoenix, San Bernardino, Tucson, Anaheim, Las Vegas. The U.S leg of the tour sold over 310,000 tickets. To date MANA has achieved more than any other Spanish rock band.
One of the bands incredible accomplishments was the fact that they were the first Mexican Band to be invited as a guest on the popular show Regis and Kathy Lee, where the band was presented as the worlds biggest Latin rock band.
The US tour became the most important tour of their career. During this tour major US magazines such as Rolling Stone, Time, Details, People and Newsweek covered the band.
Of particular importance was a front cover story on the band by the trade magazine Pollstar, where the greatness of the band¥s live performance was illustrated. During their visit to Miami on Septem 'ber 6, 1996 the band received awards recognizing sales in excess of 1.5 million units of Cuando Los Angeles Lloran, in 17 countries.
The following day the band performed in front of a sold out Miami Arena. Afterwards the band headed back to tour Mexico and it was in the city of Guadalajara, the city where the band was born, that the 1 millionth ticket was sold.
During that same trip the band held a press conference where they announced the launch of their own web site. While the press conference was being held the site received 6000 hits within a two-hour period. Cities such as Guadalajara, Monterrey and Mexico City cried out for more MANA The band went back within a seven-month period and performed two and at times three more shows in each of these cities.
As the Cuando los Angeles Lloran tour came to an end, the band published a calendar, which highlighted some ecological problems which Selva Negra seeks to call attention to.
The calendar includes both pictures of the band and some suggestive panoramic views.
After the tour, some important press coverage included a piece on MANA's drummer Alex Gonzalez in Modern Drummer (March 1997 issue), in which the magazine highlighted the story of MANA and names Alex as one of the best pop/rock drummers in the world today.
During 1997 the band started to record their most recent release Suenos Liquidos.
The band gathered in an ocean front house in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and converted the house into their personal recording studio.
Two months later the band traveled to Los Angeles to put the finishing touches on the record at Ocean Way Studios. Where Fher, Alex and co-producer Benny Faccone fine-tuned the recordings.
The new record entitled Suenos Liquidos was released in October 1997. With a simultaneous release in 26 countries, the long awaited release started to gain incredible momentum.
In the US alone the record debuted at number 67 in Billboards top 200, in 1st. place in Billboards Hot Latin 50 chart and within 10 days from its October 10th. release sold over 300,000 copies.
While in Mexico the record was certified platinum in the same time period. Other impressive sales figures were seen in Argentina, Bolivia, Spain, Chile and Venezuela were the record was certified gold and platinum within two months of its release.
In December 1997 the band was invited to participate in two of the most important yearly-televised events in Spain.
In he first program "Gala de Fin de Ano", a new year’s welcoming show, MANA shared the stage with European artists such as Alejandro Sanz, Miguel Bose, Martha Sanchez and Nek.
The second musical program is a Spanish produced show that is transmitted through cable to all of Latin America. In 1997 MANA continued to be nominated for awards.
The band was nominated for the fifth consecutive time by Billboard Magazine for Best Pop-Rock Album of the Year.
The band is also nominated for Premio "Lo Nuestro" a la Musica Latina, for Best Group of the Year and for Best Music Video, for Hechizera directed by Kiko Guerrero.
Towards the end of January 1998 the band starts its Suenos Liquidos World Tour, in Chile and later continued through Uruguay.
While in Uruguay the band had the opportunity to meet Mario Benedetti, a well-known Uruguayan writer-poet, with whom they shared and discussed mutual matters of interest.
After Uruguay, the band continued their tour in Mexico, but unfortunately the band¥s drummer, Alex Gonzalez, contracted Hepatitis.
The tour was postponed and 4 weeks later resumed in Guadalajara, Mexico. Mana finished their Mexican Tour in which over 560,000 people attend all 46 dates.
Of major importance to the band’s career, was being the first Latin pop rock band signed by Creative Artist Agency (CAA), for the U.S., Canadian, and Japane se territories.
MANA has now been added to the agency s repertoire, which includes: AC/DC, Bon Jovi, Alanis Morissette, Eric Clapton, Madonna, Depeche Mode, The Cranberries, Bob Dylan, Kiss and George Michael among others.
The first tour to be under this new agreement, started on August 21st. in Los Angeles Ca., covering 30 cities for a total of 36 shows from Arenas to Amphitheaters all around the country with sold outs in most of them.
Cities such as the Los Angeles area hold a total of 67 000 tickets sold between soldouts at Universal Amphitheater (3), Arrowhead Pond (which certified a new record for the building), The Greek Theater (2) and the Santa Barbara Bowl.
In Chicago, over 14000 fans broke the record for the venue as well as sold over 5000 tick Áets more than Janet Jackson who performed a week earlier. This tour was the most extensive done by any Latin Artist in the US., performing for over 250, 000 people.
September 1998 a friend and I went and saw ManEin concert at Coca-Cola Starplex in Dallas, Texas during their "Sueños Liquidos" tour.
Even though there was, what seemed like a million people at the concert, I found time to get at-shirt of ManE it was pretty awesom. The concert industry magazine "Pollstar" published Mana's tour at the top-100 gross concerts in the US for 1998, at #54. This was the very first time that a latin Rockband reached a spot at this list, and with only 8 weeks tour, against artists which toured for over 4 or 5 months.
For the last 10 weeks of the year, Mana finished their compromises in SouthAmerica including stadium dates at Bolivia, Chile, and Uruguay where a new record of attendance was established with over 33000 people attended.
One month later on November Mana opened the "Hard Rock Live" in Guadalajara Mexico, offering three concerts. From such concerts all funds were destinated to Selva Negra for the preservation of endangered species (marine turtle) at the Mexican pacific coast. Also at the "Hard Rock Live" in Mexico City, Mana performed three more and last shows for the year as part of the tour SueÒos Liquidos, this time the founds were destinated to the people of Acteal in Chiapas Mexico, in order to build a Hospital for the indian communities in that region.
On December '98 Mana got nominated for the second time in the row for the Grammy Awards as "Best latin Rock/Alternative" category for the album Suenos Liquidos.
So far this album has been certified by RIAA as gold album for surpass 500 000 units. As update, this album reached 700 000 units in December 1998. In Mexico as well, the album Suenos Liquidos was certified triple platinum as 750 000 units were sold at the end of November 1998.