Guest Author - Karin Norgard
This internationally known Latin rock band from Guadalajara has sold more than 20 million albums in a career spanning three decades. In this time, they have won three Grammy awards, five Latin Grammy awards, and ten Premio Lo Nuestro awards. But behind the success lies a rock band that has struggled to live up to its name, which means “positive energy” in the Polynesian language. Here are three things you may not know about Maná.
A History of Collaboration
Maná has a strong history of collaboration with other Latin music artists, which has played a great role in gaining the group international exposure. Their most profitable collaboration came in 1999, when they were featured on Carlos Santana’s Supernatural album. The song Corazón Espinado was composed by Maná member Fher Olvera, who also sang lead vocals on the track. A few weeks later, Santana would contribute to Maná’s 2002 song, Justicia, Tierra y Libertad. Over the next few years, they would collaborate with the Italian singer Zucchero (in 2003) as well as the popular Dominican singer Juan Luis Guerra (in 2006).
A Spirit of Advocacy
In 1995, Maná founded the Selva Negra Foundation (Black Rainforest Foundation), a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting ecological causes and promoting a healthy and livable environment for the future. Its projects have included the support of endangered turtle sanctuaries, recycling programs, and a series of videos aimed at environmental education. In 2003, Maná was appointed an Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which works internationally to defeat hunger. Their selection came one year after their album, Revolución de Amor (Revolution of Love). The song, Justicia, Tierra y Libertad (Justice, Land and Freedom), was said by the group to be an inspirational message in pursuit of an end to hunger. Portions of their concert ticket sales were donated to the FAO.
A Voice of Political Responsibility
In an age of political correctness, Maná has not been afraid to make political statements through their music – in a positive way. The group dedicated their 1997 song, Me Voy a Convertir en Un Ave (I’m Going to Turn Into a Bird), to the Zapatista Army of National Liberation communities, the mostly indigenous groups in Mexico fighting for greater independence and anti-globalization. Their 2002 album, Revolución de Amor, continued their support of the Zapatista movement and other humanitarian causes. One of the tracks, Pobre Juan (Poor Juan), tells the heartbreaking story of an undocumented immigrant who vanishes while attempting to cross the U.S. border. But Maná does not stop with their music; they have made public statements to the press about the rights of indigenous populations and the struggle of Latino immigrants in the United States.