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POP MUSIC REVIEW : Mana Shows Promise at the Palace

July 30, 1993|ENRIQUE LOPETEGUI

Mana's music is easy to define: lightweight pop with Latin and Afro-Caribbean touches, a blend that appeals to a vast market of youngsters without turning off record label executives.

Still, the Mexican group's extraordinary success--they've sold nearly a million records in Mexico alone, and their L.A. debut at the Palace on Wednesday was sold out--owes more to their professionalism and persistence than to the challenge of their music.

At the Palace, the group concentrated on "Donde Jugaran Los Ninos?" ("Where Will the Children Play?"), their blockbuster third album.

In this age of alternative, serious, edge-oriented rock bands, it's easy to dismiss Mana as a radio-pleasing package. But Wednesday they showed that they can certainly put on a live show, letting their rock nature come out to add elements that are missing on record. Drummer Alex Gonzalez's energetic and skillful style, for example, added some needed meanness to singer Fher's somewhat corny but often irresistible ballads.

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