February 9, 2004 |
One surprise winner emerged in the key Latin music categories this year: the credibility of Grammy voters. In the past, Recording Academy members have tended to favor acts familiar to non-Latin audiences, giving victories to big-name stars even in their painfully obvious off years. This time, however, name recognition and artistic merit often coincided.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 19, 2007 |
Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe, a titan of the African popular music known as highlife whose 1984 "Osondi Owendi" was the biggest-selling record in the history of his native Nigeria, has died. He was 71. Osadebe died May 11 of lung failure at St. Mary's Hospital in Waterbury, Conn. "In Nigeria he's loved not only by one ethnic group but by all the ethnic groups," said Nnamdi Moweta, Osadebe's manager and the host of Radio Afrodicia on KPFK-FM (90.7) in L.A.
November 22, 1999 |
The most in-demand (legal) Cuban export of recent years made its way to Los Angeles Saturday night when Buena Vista Social Club members Ruben Gonzalez and Ibrahim Ferrer brought their bands to UCLA's Royce Hall.
October 2, 2000 |
Producer Ry Cooder said recently that when it comes to the singers of the Buena Vista Social Club, he preferred collaborating with Ibrahim Ferrer over Omara Portuondo. Ferrer is always open to suggestions, according to Cooder, but Portuondo has no qualms about saying which songs she will (and will not) perform. At UCLA's Royce Hall on Friday, Portuondo showed clearly that she is used to being a diva.
February 24, 2000 |
By awarding the Latin rock/alternative performance Grammy to the Chris Perez Band, the recording academy has symbolically spat in the face of rock en espan~ol, Latin music's most vital genre. Expecting the voters to reward the deserving Cafe Tacuba's "Reves/Yosoy" was unrealistic--it's an ahead-of-its-time album that demands patience and perseverance from the listener.
February 20, 2000 |
Considering that 1999 was a remarkable year in Latin music, it doesn't come as a surprise that the competition is especially tough in the field's seven categories. The problem is that some of the key albums have been placed in the wrong genre. The record that clearly deserves to win a Latin pop Grammy, for instance, is Carlos Vives' "El Amor de mi Tierra."
January 12, 2003 |
The lyrics: "Showing affection does not equate with being weak." "The dragon can break open four cheese makers with his power alone." The album: "Specialist in All Styles." The artists: Orchestra Baobab, a legendary West African group that got its name from the chic and popular nightclub in Dakar, Senegal, where it was the house band. The vibe: Dakar meets Buena Vista Social Club. Where it's charting: Making waves in West Africa, France, England and the U.S.
April 3, 2003 |
The billing for Tuesday's concert at UCLA's Royce Hall said: "Buena Vista Social Club presents Orquesta Ibrahim Ferrer." But at times the show clearly belonged to brilliant young pianist Roberto Fonseca rather than to Cuba's sprightly old singer. On several tunes during a beautifully balanced set, Fonseca's solos stole the spotlight in a big band studded with star soloists, including bassist Cachaito Lopez, guitarist Manuel Galban and trumpeter Manuel "Guajiro" Mirabal.
April 3, 2000 |
Listening to the Afro-Cuban All-Stars perform "Distinto, Diferente (Unique, Different)," the title track from their recent second album and a scathing condemnation of the mediocrity currently afflicting the music scene in Cuba, one couldn't help notice the irony. On Friday at UCLA's Royce Hall, the 18-piece group led by tres player Juan de Marcos Gonzalez was anything but distinto and diferente.
January 5, 2000 |
The Grammy brain trust broadened Latin music categories this year to better address key genres. Gone are "tropical" and "Mexican regional," replaced by "traditional tropical Latin," "salsa," "merengue," "Mexican American" and "Tejano." The changes will help many deserving artists, but they also cause confusion. Example: How did Ruben Blades end up in the Latin pop category with a neo-classical work? Equally weird is a pop nod for merengue legend Juan Luis Guerra.