Critic's Choice

Whether contemplating the mercurial nature of love or denouncing brutish political oppression in the Third World, Spanish-speaking pop oufit Maná is a pleasant surprise. Despite an image and sound that at times feels shamelessly derived from better-known Anglo acts such as U2 and Sting, the band, which has garnered multiple Latin Grammys and has been climbing the Billboard charts, has real talent, not to mention political passion. In addition to founding the Selva Negra Foundation, a nonprofit organization that champions humanitarian and environmental conservation issues in Mexico, Maná has toured and recorded with "super estrella" Carlos Santana. Santana delivers some of his signature guitar wizardry on Maná's latest CD, Revolución de Amor. The band has been recording since the mid-'80s, and it now consists of guitarist Sergio Vallin, drummer/songwriter Alex Gonzalez, singer/songwriter Fher Olvera (pictured) and bassist Juan Calleros. Refreshingly, these guys are more Sandinista than Shakira. They open a North American tour in Denver on Sunday, September 29, at Magness Arena. Here's to justicia, tierra y libertad!


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