Taken from Michael Franti (Apr 24, 2016)
Manas Itiene was born in the town of Ughelli, Delta state, in the West African country of Nigeria, where he grew up as a member of the Isoko tribe. He played drums with several local church groups where he was discovered by the Mandators - one of Nigeria's most successful reggae groups. As a teenager, he moved to Lagos to play and tour with the Mandators, and also sat in with many other famous Nigerian artists, including Sonny Okosuns and Majek Fashek.
In 1993, the Mandators toured to the U.S., where Manas has remained ever since. He has played with 3-time Bammy Award winner Inka Inka, Sister Carol of Jamaica, Apple Gabriel of Israel Vibration, Sugar Minott, and Kotoja, to name a few. He also has spent a lot of time in the recording studio, recording with such artists as Mickey Thomas of Jefferson Starship and Babatunde Olatunji.Since joining Spearhead in 2000, Manas has enjoyed the opportunity to draw upon his diverse musical influences and travel the world, performing in countries such as Japan, Brazil, Europe, the UK and Australia. His touring highlights include national tours alongside John Mayer and the Counting Crows as well as TV appearances on the Ellen DeGeneres, Jimmy Fallon, and Craig Ferguson shows. In 2010 Manas released his first solo album entitled "Tears of Joy."