Mano a Mano (M2) is quickly becoming one of Cuba’s hottest new vocal groups. Five virtuosic voices united in complex harmonies against innovative rhythms rendering fresh interpretations of Cuban classics, dynamic new compositions and unique covers of pop songs. Mano is comprised of Arian Ferrer-Castro, Carlos Raul Torres, Orlando Cartier-Sanchez, Miguel Angel Herrera and Yorlan Arencibia, under the musical direction of Ernesto Lima Parets. These classically trained singer-musicians hailing from various provinces of Cuba are being referred to as a cross between Take 6 and Pentatonix. With a repertoire ranging from American spiritual a cappella arrangements to fully orchestrated ballads and latin music Mano a Mano (M2) is redefining the boundaries of what a “chorus” can be.
Since the group’s debut in May 2014 they have performed at many venues in Havana and had the distinction of performing in the Cenesex Gala Against Homophobia and Transphobia 2015 and 2016 at Karl Marx Theater and Teatro Nacional respectively. In 2015 they made history representing Cuba’s LGBT community by jointly performing with Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington at Instituto Cubano de Amistad con Los Pueblos (Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples) during the group’s visit to Cuba. The first cultural/diplomatic exchange of this type between the Cuba and the United States. They were invited special artists at two performances during the prestigious Leo Brouwer Festival 2015 – Les Voix Humaines at Fabrica de Arte Cubano and Teatro Bellas Artes to sold out performances. The group is also honored to collaborate with Sociedad Civil de Cuba on humanitarian projects. They have sung for the Norwegian Ambassador, British and French Ambassadors in Cuba.
The M2 Tour 2016 marks the first time in history a gay music group from Cuba visits the United States. The group will perform with Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (sister chorus to M2), Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses (GALA) Festival 2016, Church of the Epiphany in DC, Skinner Music Hall at Vassar College, Provincetown Town Hall and South Florida. M2 also has the distinction of being one of the only independent civic organizations in Cuba that has been accepted into the fabric of Cuban social and music cultures. Mano also released their first CD, Mano a Mano Volume 1-First Hand, February 2016 under the direction of Grammy Award winning producer Andres Levin.
Under the artistic vision of the group’s creators, Cuban-American Fermin Rojas and his husband James Kubesch, Mano a Mano’s (One Hand at a Time) vision is to unite hearts and erase barriers of discrimination through the language of music.