File under: live

Don’t let the Grammy award for Sueños Liquidos fool you. No studio can catch the magic of Maná performing live. The band’s July concert in San Antonio proves it.

As such, Maná’s Unplugged performance becomes the perfect introduction for new fans. The group’s hits, a live setting and an adoring audience — elements vital to a Maná show all appear on Unplugged.

(So much so, a co-worker of mine who went with me to the San Antonio show said she was reliving the concert by listening to the disc.)

Admittedly, Maná’s music may strike some listeners as a bit bloated. Take away the Latin influence and translate the lyrics into English, and critics would have a fun time taking potshots at the quartet.

But hey — sometimes it takes a foreign language to make a bad gringo gimmick sound absolutely plausible. It works for Cocco in Japan.

And so too it works for Maná. They make music to make people feel great about themselves, and they even cross a few cultural barriers — without sacrificing their language — at the same time.