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Worthy Performers Go Unrecognized

January 05, 2002|Agustin Gurza

Having a whole separate competition for Latin Grammys--with winners already announced earlier this year--drains the drama out of the regular Grammy nominations in Latin music categories.

Mercifully, it also takes the sting out of the shocking omissions and strange inclusions that typically plague Latin selections in the main event.

Still, it seems unforgivable to ignore the best of the new Cuban performers this time in the salsa category, which snubbed the spirited Carlos Manuel and elegant Issac Delgado. The traditional tropical category offers some comfort, with nominations for the always respectable elderly alumni of the Buena Vista Social Club, along with Colombia's vibrant vallenato master Carlos Vives.

In the pop category, fans may wonder whatever happened to Alejandro Sanz, the Spaniard who won an armload of Latin Grammys recently for his romantic reverie "El Alma Al Aire." His omission from the list is a technicality, since the eligibility periods for the two Grammy competitions overlap but are not identical.

But eligibility dates are no excuse for this lackluster crop of Latin pop nominations. The category ignores eligible and interesting albums by Spain's Estopa and Mexico's Armando Manzanero, whose "Duetos" won last year's Latin Grammy for best pop album by a duo or group.

The opposite is true of the Latin rock/alternative category, where the nominations reveal the vitality of the genre, with five excellent choices including Colombia's Aterciopelados and Juanes; the latter's "Fijate Bien" also won big in the Latin Grammys.

Respected veterans Vicente Fernandez, Ramon Ayala and Pepe Aguilar loyally anchor the Mexican category.


Agustin Gurza

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