Digging Through The Latin Grammys: Nominees You Should Hear : Alt.Latino We're not huge fans of the Latin Grammy Awards, but every year they call attention to a handful of gems. Here, we sift through the nominations and play you the music that most excites us, from a legendary mambo group to an up-and-coming Mexican crooner.

Digging Through The Latin Grammys: Nominees You Should Hear

Digging Through The Latin Grammys: Nominees You Should Hear

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Brazilian singer Mart'nália is nominated for a Latin Grammy in the category of Best Brazilian Contemporary Pop Album. courtesy of the artist hide caption

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courtesy of the artist

Brazilian singer Mart'nália is nominated for a Latin Grammy in the category of Best Brazilian Contemporary Pop Album.

courtesy of the artist

I've always thought of the Latin Grammy Awards as thrift stores: It's all about patiently sifting through piles of nondescript and ludicrous junk until you find something that fits.

The Latin Grammys can be infuriating: They tend to regurgitate the same artists over and over again, year after year, and often award bland mediocrity. With so much exciting music in the Latin world, that's a real shame. Yes, Calle 13's massive win last year was an exciting shift, but I'm still sore about the Grammy for Best Rock Album taken by the Mexican band Mana: It was painful to watch, because the group was up against the innovative and amazing likes of Venezuela's La Vida Boheme.

But enough about past wounds. This year, Felix Contreras and I sift through the nominations and play the records we're most excited to see on the ballots. Mexican crooner Carla Morrison is up for several awards, including Album of the Year, which is a huge step for her — and which makes us tip our hats to the Academy. We review some of the exciting salsa and Latin jazz legends in the running, and fall in love with Colombian Vallenato music. Also, NPR classical-music expert Tom Huizenga stops by to talk about some of his favorite nominees.

The Latin Grammys have 34 categories, but you don't have to sift through them all: We've done that for you by handpicking the top of the crop.

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Los Grammys Latinos son para mí como una tienda de ropa de segunda mano: uno tiene que buscar con mucha paciencia hasta encontrar algo que a uno le guste.


Como se podrán dar cuenta a partir de esta descripción, los Grammys no son nuestra ceremonia preferida aquí en Alt.Latino: los organizadores insisten en reciclar los mismos artistas una y otra vez, año tras año, y tienden a premiar la mediocridad. Con tanta música buena que llega a nuestros oídos todos los días, a veces llega a dar verguenza la lista de ganadores. Y aunque la arrasadora victoria de Calle 13 fue emocionante, todavía me enfurece que la banda de rock mexicana Maná haya ganado un Grammy al major álbum de rock; fue particularmente ridículo en vista de todas las bandas increíbles contra las cuales competía, entre ellas los venezolanos de La Vida Boheme, uno de los grupos más creativos de rock de los últimos años.

¡Pero ya dejemos de lamernos las heridas! Este año, Felix y yo revisamos la lista de postulantes al Grammy y escuchamos la música que más nos gustó. La maravillosa cantante mexicana Carla Morrison está nominada para varios premios, incluyendo para el mejor álbum del año- lo cual es un gran paso para ella y en nuestra opinión para la academia. También repasamos algunas de las leyendas de la salsa y el jazz latino que se encuentran entre los nominados, y nos enamoramos del carismático vallenato colombiano. Como si todo esto fuese poco, Tom Huizenga, nuestro consultor y experto en música clásica, pasa a visitarnos y hablarnos sobre sus nominados favoritos del género.
Los Grammys latinos tienen 34 categorías, pero a no desesperarse: nosotros seleccionamos lo major y hoy te lo ofrecemos en bandeja de plata!

Digging Through The Latin Grammys: Nominees You Should Hear

Cover for Watch Out! [¡Ten Cuidao!]

Mambo Legends Orchestra

  • Song: Watch Out!
  • from Watch Out! [¡Ten Cuidao!]
YouTube
Cover for Desde Rusia Con Amor

Molotov

  • Song: Chinga Tu Madre
  • from Desde Rusia Con Amor
YouTube
Cover for Dejenme Llorar

Carla Morrison

  • Song: Dejenme Llorar
  • from Dejenme Llorar
YouTube
Cover for Não Tente Compreender

Mart'nalia

  • Song:
  • from Não Tente Compreender
YouTube
Cover for Watch Out! [¡Ten Cuidao!]

Digging Through The Latin Grammys: Nominees You Should Hear

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Mambo Legends Orchestra

  • Song: Birdland
  • from Watch Out! [¡Ten Cuidao!]
Cover for Alma Adentro: The Puerto Rican Songbook

Digging Through The Latin Grammys: Nominees You Should Hear

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Miguel Zenón

  • Song: Tiemblas
  • from Alma Adentro: The Puerto Rican Songbook
Cover for Poncho Sanchez and Terence Blanchard = Chano & Dizzy!

Digging Through The Latin Grammys: Nominees You Should Hear

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Poncho Sanchez/Terence Blanchard

  • Song:
  • from Poncho Sanchez and Terence Blanchard = Chano & Dizzy!
Cover for Blue Cha Cha

Obsesion

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/164597986/164629250" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Manuel Galbán

  • Song: Rumba del Ángel
  • from Blue Cha Cha
Cover for Le Canta a San Jacinto

Digging Through The Latin Grammys: Nominees You Should Hear

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Juan Piña, Rodrigo Rodriguez

  • Song: Sueño Con Maria
  • from Le Canta a San Jacinto
Cover for Jerry Gonzalez Y El Comando De La Clave

Obsesion

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Jerry Gonzalez Y El Comando De La Clave

  • Song: Obsesion