Why Do Mexicans Like the Band Mana so Much?

[¡Ask a Mexican!] And does saying you're a mestizo deny your Indian roots?

DEAR MEXICAN: This pregunta has been simmering in my brain for a while, like slow-cooking birria, and the recent question about whether saying "Viva la Raza" is racist reminded me to ask you. According to José Vasconcelos, the Mexican people are La Raza Cósmica (Cosmic Race), which, to me, seems like a romantic version of the melting-pot farce. In Guillermo Bonfil Batalla's México Profundo, he suggests that notions such as La Raza Cósmica are used to de-indianize the majority of the Mexican people. We have a strong, rich indigenous history; thus umbrella terms such as mestizo y raza cósmica further detach us from our cultural and ethnic identity and the natural claim to our tierra y nuestro soberanía. And for what? To produce a legally enslaved working class that's neither Indian nor Spanish, but a mix, mongrels, mutts. What do you think? Are we La Raza Cósmica? Mestizos? Mexicanos? Or according to Reies Tijernia, are we Indio/Hispanos?

Bastardo de la Inquisición

DEAR BASTARD OF THE INQUISITION: Gracias for bringing up México Profundo, a great book that complements the fabulous Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian-Hating and Empire-Building. While I understand Batalla's argument, it's also one that doesn't consider the supremacy of the mutt, which is what Vasconcelos was trying to hint at. Societies that remain pure have a harder time surviving in this mundo than those that absorb and learn from other cultures—you think the Aztecs got to the top of the Templo Mayor by keeping only to the ways of their ancestors all the way from Aztlán to Tenochtitlán? The Mexican feels it's crucial for Mexis to remember their indigenous roots because the only good thing the conquistadors left us was Spanish and distillation—but embrace the mutt, as well, as that allows us to be whoever we want to be and draw from all the cultures that make us. Compare that to gabachos, who can only be gabachos because they have largely forsaken this country's melting-pot past—and who the hell would want to be a gabacho like that?

Mark Dancey

Details

Ask the Mexican at themexican@askamexican.net, be his fan on Facebook, follow him on Twitter or ask him a video question at youtube.com/askamexicano!

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DEAR MEXICAN: Why do so many Mexicans like Maná?! WTF, and why do they think they're truly a rock en español/Latin alternative band? They suck and blow big-time. They are more equivalent to Hootie and the Blowfish than anything else and should be placed in the POP SECTION!

Puro Pinche Caifanes


DEAR PURE FUCKING CAIFANES: While no one makes more fun of the Guadalajara-based quartet than me, maybe us Maná-haters should cut the fresas some slack. After all, their early success with rip-offs of the Police and Sting assisted in convincing gabachos that there was more to Mexican music than sombreros and Herb Alpert. Their concerts are now puro pinche parri nostalgia fests that inspire Mexi MILFS to squeeze into dresses four sizes too small. "Mariposa Traicionera" ("Treacherous Butterfly") is a legit rola, and the accompanying video of lesbians and thongs is simply magnificent. On a more serious note, Maná members have donated muchos pesos to saving sea turtles via their nonprofit—and who can hate people like that? Actually, a lot of Mexicans like you and I. You compare the chavos to Hootie and the Blowfish, but they're more the Dave Matthews Band of rock en español—despised by the purists as the group who cries all the way to the banco.

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CONGRATULATIONS TO: The Dream 9, the undocumented activists who traveled to Mexico, tried to cross back into el Norte to highlight the plight of people such as themselves, were detained by la migra—sometimes in solitary confinement—and are currently out of prison, awaiting an asylum hearing. The struggle isn't over, but their bravery is inspiring. I ask America again: Why wouldn't we want such brave men and mujeres—and the millions of people they stand for—as citizens of this country?

 
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90 comments
neilhcronk
neilhcronk

You know, if you're looking for a band playing puro rock!!!! then Mana' isn't for you (except for "Me Vale")  But, they're great songwriters, if you like songs that actually have themes and lyrics that make sense and go from here to there in a narrative arc (El Muelle de San Blas, etc), if you like to hear un poco de todo...tradicional, huapango, salsa, tropical, balada, y tambien rock, then Mana' is the band for you.  They have songs that adults can actually get involved with and get behind.  They can go from loose and sexy (De Pies a la Cabeza, Hechicera), funny (Refrigerador), rocking (Arrancame el Corazon, Combatiente, Tu Me Salvaste), politically and socially aware and involved (one at least on every album, usually the title song...Falta Amor; Justicia, Tierra, y Libertad; Donde Jugaran Los Ninos; etc).  Tienen un poco de todo, en una forma que les interesa a adultos...no simplemente a ninos rebeldes. 

Bill_Esparza
Bill_Esparza

Mana has some excellent songs and melodies--great singing, too. They're Mexico's U2. What I want to know is why we[Mexicans] love Hobastank's the Reason, so much? 

John Garza
John Garza

Los Lobos - great group Little bit too East LA in their appearance but I dig their music

John Garza
John Garza

Man as Mexicans we should appreciate the diversity in the music - I like all kinds of music Opera, hard rock, metal, salsa, merengue and rock en espanol A well as the corridos and ranchers we heard growing up Trust me that is what is pounding every weekend when I'm outside We get offended if people look down on our culture and here we are arguing about who is more "Mexican" thanwho - MANA's success should be a source of pride To all the "I'm so proud I'm more Mexican than the next guy"........ I bet your glad you are in the U.S when your hungry huh? IGNORANCE at it's best........

jzur84
jzur84

Maná is BLAND pop en español. Just because a group of men play their instruments and sing doesn't mean that they are "rock" or even latin alternative. After listening to any Maná song after "Donde Jugaran los Niños?" it is apparent that they have sold out in order to make more money. As any great band, lyrics and and musical style changes happen over time. Just look at CafeTa. Even Madonna changes her style. Maná? They still use the same lyrics, chords and riffs time and time again. THAT is a sell out. Why DO Mexicans like Maná so much? Their earlier work and the "safe" and accessible processed rock sound and lyrics. How dare people like an offensive band that mocks Maná, the government, and society like Molotov? gasp! 

Frank Preciado
Frank Preciado

I don't know. I do know why Heavy Metal was created. So ugly kids could be popular too.

Heather Gentry
Heather Gentry

the mexicans i knew as a kid listened to Metallica and heavy metal lol

Joe Espinosa
Joe Espinosa

Why do Mexicans like the Smiths so much?

Brandon Garvin
Brandon Garvin

People, regardless of race, should like what they want. I'm white, but does that mean I can't listen to hip hop? Fuck no it doesn't.

Robert Saenz
Robert Saenz

because they're unimaginative robots with no individual identities clinging to certain hobbies and fashions as if to say it was cultural.

Jason Roig
Jason Roig

That's when you call them "naco's"..

Chris Kennedy
Chris Kennedy

they really don't. it's like raider fans. they live in the region so they just have to.

Charlie Wilson
Charlie Wilson

Because they are greatest Spanish Language Rock band of all time! Simple!

Art V. Cabrera
Art V. Cabrera

Paisa, please. If it ain't got an accordion, a tuba, or a toothless man with a fiddle screaming in Nahuatl on it, I don't have time for it. If I wanted to listen to badly translated U.S. knock-off music in Spanish, I would run the lyrics of the Top 40 through Google Translate and turn on a Britney Spears song on low while I am reading them. It might make more sense aesthetically. As for "only the pochos listen to corridos", tell that to my poor family with next door neighbors straight from Mexico blasting that stuff at 1 am on a Saturday night. They sure ain't listenin' to Mana, that's for sure.

Francisco Velasco
Francisco Velasco

its the whole identity crisis thing. but we are what mestizo has come to mean that we have african and european ancestry as well as indigenous. veracruz was the port where african slaves were brought in to mexico and the descendants are still there. Have you heard of the town of Yanga (the first free town in America) because he did not allow his town to become enslaved. I never heard of him before I met someone from there but he needs to be a national hero and we should all be proud of our history (not the illusion of race thats not what mestizo should be about) it should be a shield of honor.

JV Joaquin Vazquez Jr.
JV Joaquin Vazquez Jr.

Mana jumped the shark many years ago. Same old tired lyrics from Fher. They're more like 'Pop' en Espanol.

JV Joaquin Vazquez Jr.
JV Joaquin Vazquez Jr.

Music from Mexico is diverse. It's not just Narco corridos and Pop en Espanol. (Mana is not really Rock)

No More Mr. Nice Guy Ent.
No More Mr. Nice Guy Ent.

Well for me, they were a part of that whole rock n' espanol era that had a great danceable 80's vibe

Brenda Garcia
Brenda Garcia

I think it is important to remember that we Mexicans are mixed. There is no sense on going on and on about fancy labels. Voz eres Indio pata rajada born en LA (well at least I am). I like Mana too and nothing wrong with that :)

Ask a Mexican
Ask a Mexican

Diana: They never have, and they never will. Just look at "La Cucaracha"...

Ricardo Carlos
Ricardo Carlos

Their old stuff is better. anything from 2000 and now sucks!

Ezra Frida
Ezra Frida

soy India/Indigena/Mestiza a toda honra

Raquel Ariaz
Raquel Ariaz

I agree, that is one kind of pochos, then you have the others that like Spanish pop like Mana. There are also different types of corridos, not all are narco-corridos, like the classics from Antonio Aguilar, Ramon Ayala, Carlos y Jose, etc., i'm sure you know them! :)

Daniel Castor
Daniel Castor

pochos listen to corridos, most of the corridos artists are from LA. most Mexicans despise corridos since it glorifies the violence they are living thru

Daniel Castor
Daniel Castor

i agree, but most of that music is made my "pochitos" from LA and most of their fanbase is in the US. Mexico has strong laws against corridos and most of the citizens down there despise the music since they are the ones going thru the violence.

Michael Ceja
Michael Ceja

Go check out Los Lobos!! They are celebrating 40 years this year! Hidalgo and Perez are amazing song writers. David can burn on that guitar with the best of them. One of the best bands you will ever see live. 40 years people! They will be at the LA Fair in Sept with Los Lonely Boys, scheck em out!!

Marcela Salmon
Marcela Salmon

I don't, I like they're first album and every other album sounds the same as the first. Now you want to talk about Cafe Tacuba. Now that is excellent band.

Carmen Madonna Campos
Carmen Madonna Campos

YES!!!! Maná IS the Dave MATTHEWS BAND en español! - except for Luis Conte who sometimes plays congas for them (Maná Unplugged) because he is straight up Cuban Congero!

John Garza
John Garza

Yes I can do without the Duranguense........forever!!!

sammi.briggs101
sammi.briggs101

@Frank Preciado You're a fucking idiot. Metal is actually years of technical theory, and real music with only one or two writers. No synth involved. Sorry I actually listen to real music, and not music for the sheep people lol 

leoqaf
leoqaf

@Brenda Garcia I agree for the most part, but what's with the "Voz"?

 
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