Gig Seeker Pro


Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States

Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
Band Rock Latin


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"What Rock 'n' Roll is Truly About"

Newly formed Manolete offers contagious and distinct sounds that span a variety of genres and cultures, appealing to a wide range of audiences. This highly intellectual and diverse group speaks of forgoing full scholarships to top universities, and comfortable jobs, all for the pure satisfaction of playing music for a living.

Lead singer Miguel Ojeda states, “Music, the band, the entire thing is about something bigger than us. It is in our hearts. We have no choice but to do it.”

From waiting tables at Olive Garden, laboring in Wyoming coal mines and preparing oil wells, to working in countless retail stores and coffee shops—from Arizona to New York—these five band members have stories and experiences that many people twice their age have not compiled… and they’re still in their twenties. But don’t let the long hair and tattoos fool you; this highly intellectual group defines the word ‘dedicated.’ Manolete is well on its way to making a name for itself in the music industry.

Although offering distinct and eclectic sounds, they can be categorized as Latin-inspired Rock, or to the mainstream music crowd, a mix between Coldplay and Sublime with a Latin edge. This Detroit-based band puts all they have into every lyric and note. Those attending Manolete concerts quickly realize their infectious nature. They state, “We do not want our audience to come to a single show; we provide them an experience with interactive elements that keeps them coming back for more.”

Music for this quintet goes far beyond fame, glamour and good-looking girls; it is about connecting one-on-one with fans. “We focus on people around us, the ones who will get something out of our music. That is truly what it is all about for us,” explains lead guitarist Charles Hardin. One consistency among the five band members: they eat, drink and sleep music, and have done so since boyhood. “Each member of the band is very similar in passion, view and thought-processes about music… that is rare to find among a group of talented artists,” elaborates bassist Jeff Davis.

Despite varied backgrounds, the band instantly connects during ‘office hours.’ Lead singer Miguel Ojeda, a University of Michigan graduate, is a second-generation Mexican who knows the meaning of hard work. His parents nearly broke their backs as migrant workers, picking fields and sleeping in barns to provide him an education. Miguel’s cousin, John Zakoor, the youngest of the group (age 22), is a jack-of-all-trades, playing the piano, guitar and vocals. He gave up a full scholarship to the University of Michigan during his freshman year to follow his passion; he acted as Manolete’s catalyst.

The two cousins joined forces with Charles and moved to New York in 2007. During a brief stint living off of 80-cent coffee and cigarettes, and barely making rent, these three were the quintessential starving artists. They characterize their first gig—at New York’s 500-seat Merkin Hall—as a blessing, which came to fruition after an acquaintance who had heard their music asked them to step in as a last-minute replacement band. In preparation to go on stage, John said to Miguel, “Isn’t this going to be great when we are doing this for real? Miguel retorted, “John, we are doing this for real.”

Unforeseen circumstances led the band back to their Detroit hometown, a fortuitous circumstance as they then found Jeff and drummer John M. through Craigslist ads. When speaking with this dynamic group, their love, dedication and talent for music shines through. Charles Hardin says, “Our music is about things we are going through and the feelings that we have for each other.” Miguel adds, “Life is a rollercoaster of emotions; our music reflects that.”

The group agrees that the toughest obstacle to overcome is the quest for legitimacy. “We are constantly fighting to be regarded as legitimate by friends, family and other authoritative figures,” admits Jeff, in a common refrain from musicians who must overcome preconceived notions. Quite simply, they make music for the sake of making music. The band well understands why many people do not follow their dreams: oftentimes the rewards that come are so few and far between. It is much easier to go back to the rat race and comfortable job.

The biggest piece of advice Miguel offers to other musicians? “Embrace the struggle and having no money and love every minute of the journey. It is the only way to survive.” Jeff adds, “There is one thing to remember through everything… have fun.”

Manolete is here to stay. ¡Buena suerte! - uwemp (

"Mitten Matadors"

4.5 out of 5 Stars

Frankly, this is a mammoth debut — something like Ann Arbor’s answer to OK Computer, but tweaked with a hard-juking, post-punk meets dense and dreamy operatic pop, tinged with a Greenwood-inspired, guitar-torched, flamenco-rock shake and stomp. It’s downright exciting to listen to the turns the melodies take (“Tommy Pays the Rent” seems to start as any sunny, driving, indie-pop ballad but blows up into an anthemic, harmonized chorus with furiously strummed solos from three different guitars). The opening guitars and plodding beat of the piano-pushed “Broken” are akin to the somewhat ferocious/somewhat white-noise-calming roar of rushing cars on a distant freeway heard from the not-yet-far-enough escapist fields at sunset. And, yes, lots of the tracks here go for the jugular, but they also dress the soundscape with subtle yet effective atmospherics. Those atmospherics tend to regroup after a chorus and start building off of the revving drum pummel and the yearning moan and coo of the vocals, building and building to that epic, ceiling-disintegrating, big-pop sound of flashing northern lights and shooting stars and single-tear-dropped lonely night drives back to your bed in a heartbroken, folk-born/rock respite. —Jeff Milo - Real Detroit


Manolete self titled debut album. Streaming on website, myspace, and for purchase on Itunes USA and Europe.
Hit Singles "Tommy pays the Rent", "Dumb Kidds", and "El Carro Blanco" can be heard on Ann Arbors 107.1 radio.



Manolete is a newly formed indie rock group with heavy latin influences. Music reviews and fans claim this band is a spectacle to see. The album, an emotional movie like rollercoaster to experience. The band is a group with incredible talent and potential of which much can be expected in the future.

Influences include Jeff Buckley, Bjork, Sufjan Stephens, Radiohead, Prince, and Al Green

Manolete is a family band that comes from a very long line of musicians. Mexican folklore sing alongs, hard work ethic, and a mixing of cultural influences formed this bands sound and style.

The band has performed festivals, shows at both large and smaller venues as well as radio performances. Venues include The Royal Oak Music Theater (Detroit), Merkin Hall (NYC), Ann Arbor's Top of the Park, Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts.