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Latin Grammys eye the pioneers

Cafe Tacuba and Juanes, trailblazers in their fields, land nominations in the three top categories.

September 11, 2008|Agustin Gurza | Times Staff Writer

In recognition of the continuing influence of rock and alternative styles on the Latin music industry, Mexico's pioneering Café Tacuba garnered six nominations, the most of any artist, for the 9th Annual Latin Grammy Awards announced Wednesday at the House of Blues in West Hollywood.

The cutting-edge rock quartet is up for album of the year for its ethereal, artful CD "Sino" (If Not). The album yielded two separately nominated tracks, "Volver a Comenzar" (Start Again) for record of the year and "Esta Vez" (This Time) for song of the year.

Colombian singer-songwriter Juanes, a former metalhead from Medellin, was the only other artist to be named in all three top categories in the international competition, which honors the best in music recorded primarily in Spanish and Portuguese.

The 12-time Latin Grammy winner's intensely personal "La Vida . . . Es un Ratico" (Life Is but a Moment) was nominated for both album of the year and best male pop vocal. His joyful love song "Me Enamora" is competing for song and record of the year as well as best short-form music video, for a total of five, the second-highest number of nominations.

Argentina's Gustavo Santaolalla, the godfather of the Latin alternative movement, rode the wave he helped start with four nominations as producer of works by Juanes and Cafe Tacuba, acts he has shepherded since the start of their careers.

Separately, the L.A.-based musical Midas was honored for his work with Bajofondo, the tango fusion band nominated for best short-form music video for "Pa Bailar" (For Dancing) from the album "Mar Dulce" (Sweet Sea).

That track features yet another Santaolalla protegee, Julieta Venegas, the Mexican singer-songwriter who earned four nominations, including record and song of the year for "El Presente" (The Present) from her "MTV Unplugged" CD, which also was nominated for best alternative album and long-form video.

The bellwether best new artist category includes another Mexican singer-songwriter, Ximena Sariñana, the current darling of the alt-Latino scene. The category has served as a calling card for undiscovered artists since a then-unknown Juanes won in 2001.

This year's fresh names include Mónica Giraldo (Colombia), Kany García (Puerto Rico) and Roberta Sá and Diogo Nogueira (both of Brazil).

A mix of veterans and newcomers round out the nominations in top categories.

Mexican mariachi king Vicente Fernandez, an early critic of the awards for allegedly giving short shrift to top-selling Mexican regional music, was nominated in the album of the year category for "Para Siempre" (Always), produced by fellow regional star Joan Sebastian.

Also nominated are "Cualquier Dia" (Any Day) by newcomer Garcia, who's in the running in the song of the year category for "Hoy Ya Me Yoy" (Today I'm Finally Leaving). Finally, the African-born, Spanish-based artist Buika rounds out the category. She was recognized for "Nina De Fuego" (Girl of Fire), a favorite in world music circles.

The remaining record of the year nominees are “Vive Ya! (Vivere)” (Live Now), a duet by Italian singers Andrea Bocelli and Laura Pausini, and "Bonita" (Pretty One) by rock/cumbia fusion artist Cabas, yet another alternative singer/songwriter from Colombia.

The fifth nominee in song of the year, a songwriter's award, is "Todavia" (Still), by Aureo Baqueiro and singer Gian Marco.


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