Calle 13 Sweeps Latin Grammy Nominations

The Latin Grammy nominations are out. With many new artists to consider, guest host Mandalit del Barco talks to Billboard magazine writer Leila Cobo about the big surprises, the famous singers and what's new this year in the world of Latino music.

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MANDALIT DEL BARCO, host:

Calle 13, the Puerto Rican hip hop and alternative reggaeton duo has been nominated for five different Latin Grammy's. And joining me to talk about Calle 13 and the other nominees is Billboard magazine writer Leila Cobo. She joins us from member station WLRN in Miami, Florida. Welcome to TELL ME MORE or, as they say in Spanish, De Me Mas(ph).

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. LEILA COBO (Writer): De Me Mas, thank you Mandalit. It's nice to be here.

DEL BARCO: Thanks. Well, let's talk about "Calle 13." In English, that means 13th Street. It's a duo of half-brothers René Pérez, who goes by the name Residente, the resident, and Eduardo Cabra or el Visitante, the visitor. Let's take a listen to their song "No Hay Nadie Como Tú," there's no one like you.

(Soundbite of song, "No Hay Nadie Como Tú")

CALLE 13 (Music Group): (Singing) (Speaking foreign language).

DEL BARCO: This is their third album. They've already got a Grammy award and five Latin Grammys under their belt. Now they're poised for more. Leila, what do you make of Calle 13?

Ms. COBO: Well, Calle 13 is very much a Grammy - a Latin Grammy darling. It's - they have been from the beginning because their sound was very different when they first came out. There were ostensibly reggaeton, but they weren't. You know, they're very eclectic, rap and urban. His rhymes are really, really funny and interesting and irreverent, and they have really a different sound from anyone else and now, you know, they have five nominations, which is more than anyone else, and in this particular song, they teamed up with Café Tacuba, the alternative Mexican group. So I imagine that kind of the merge of urban and Café Tacuba gave them, you know, a lot of votes and recognition among the voters.

DEL BARCO: Speaking of different genres, there seem to be a lot of musical collaborations these days by the Latino and the non-Latino artists. One of the other nominees is Wisin & Yandel, the Puerto Rican reggaeton duo that's collaborated with Paris Hilton, of all people, and rapper Akon, and in this song, 50 Cent.

(Soundbite of music)

WISIN & YANDEL (Musical Group): (Singing) (Unintelligible).

Ms. COBO: Yes. Wisin & Yandel are hugely, hugely popular. They sell extremely well in the Latin marketplace. And for the past couple of years, they've been making inroads and collaborating with different mainstream artists and the 50 Cent collaboration was actually earlier this year, and they have big respect for each other, 50 Cent and Wisin & Yandel. And they do interesting stuff, you know? It's a very commercial group, but very good, catchy songs, and they do collaborations with different people. They have a remix with Enrique Iglesias, as well. So, you know, they're fun.

DEL BARCO: So Leila, who else are you rooting for this year at the Latin Grammys?

Ms. COBO: There were other names I would have liked to see that are not here. But let's see, in the main categories, in the Record of the Year category, the Calle 13 song is very good. Then there's a song by Luis Fonsi called - the Puerto Rican crooner Luis Fonsi - called "Aquí Estoy Yo," which is really interesting because it's up for a (unintelligible) with three other pop singers, and it's done very well in radio, but it's also very well done. He's a very fine musician.

And then Laura Pausini from Italy, who also sings in Spanish, and of course, she has this gorgeous voice. So basically, anything she does is nice. And she's up for Record of the Year and for Female Pop Album of the Year, as well.

DEL BARCO: Were there any surprises or real big disappointments in this year's Latin Grammy nominations for you?

Ms. COBO: Well, I think most of the main categories are surprising.

DEL BARCO: Really?

Ms. COBO: I've got to say I was surprised by the (unintelligible) simply because I don't know the album. So I would have thought that I would know the albums that were out there. (Unintelligible) surprised me in the sense that I knew that album was out there and I'm anxious to hear it, but I haven't, and Alejandro Lerner is a surprise to me. He's out on an indie label now, although he's a fantastic singer-songwriter and great composer, and there were people like Ricardo Edjone(ph), who's up for singer-songwriter, but he's not in any of the main categories.

Many of the bigger commercial names who also - there's a lot of commercial names who happen to do good music, too, and I feel that they're maybe less represented than they should be.

DEL BARCO: So Leila, what song should we end this segment with?

Ms. COBO: Well, let's end it with something that you haven't heard yet, and Andres Cepeda, "Dia Tras Dia" is a major hit in Colombia. And this is a guy who's a troubadour. He puts on a great show. He plays guitar. He's very likable. He's very warm, and he's - he sings these very intimate songs, and it's a nice little departure, I think.

DEL BARCO: "Dia Tras Dia," day after day.

(Soundbite of song, "Dia Tras Dia")

Mr. ANDRES CEPEDA (Singer): (Speaking foreign language).

DEL BARCO: The 10th round of Latin Grammys will be awarded in November. Thank you again for joining us. Leila Cobo is director of Latin content for Billboard and the author of a new novel, "Tell Me Something True." Thank you, Leila.

Ms. COBO: Thank you, Mandalit, for having me.

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