Grammy Buzz Grows Leading Up To Ceremony The Grammy Awards are just weeks away, with broad of artists up for nomination. NPR Arts Producer Felix Contreras gives a sneak peek into what viewers can expect at this year's star-studded ceremony.
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Grammy Buzz Grows Leading Up To Ceremony

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Grammy Buzz Grows Leading Up To Ceremony

Grammy Buzz Grows Leading Up To Ceremony

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MICHEL MARTIN, host:

And finally, the Grammy Awards are coming up in a few weeks. Here with a look ahead at some of the music that's been nominated is NPR's music producer, Felix Contreras.

FELIX CONTRERAS: For this Grammy preview, I'm going to give you a few examples of some interesting music being made beyond the rock and all the popular fields. These are some things that stand out, although I'm starting with something that's nominated for the Record of the Year and Album of the Year. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, "Raising Sand" is the name of the record, and the cut we're going to hear is "Please Read the Letter."

(Soundbite of song "Please Read the Letter")

Mr. ROBERT PLANT and Ms. ALISON KRAUSS: (Singing) Caught out running With just a little too much to hide Maybe baby Everything's gonna turn out fine Please read the letter I mailed it to your door It's crazy how it all turned out We needed so much moreā€¦

CONTRERAS: I thought it was one of the more interesting collaborations I've heard in a long time, the juxtaposition of the rough, world-weary voice of the Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant and the almost angelic voice of Alison Krauss.

(Soundbite of song "Latina")

Ms. XIMENA SARINANA: (Singing) (Spanish sung)

CONTRERAS: Now, moving over to a subcategory in the Latin music area, I want to point out a record by a singer by the name of Ximena Sarinana. The name of the record is "Mediocre." The cut we're going to hear is "Latina," and it's a love song spoken from the point of view of a person who is just sitting in a tub, contemplating life.

(Soundbite of song "Latina")

Ms. SARINANA: (Singing) (Spanish sung)

CONTRERAS: She is a very, very young singer, probably early 20s. She's from Mexico, but she has a jazz connection. She claims she saw Ella Fitzgerald at age two and was smitten by music and the whole idea of singing. She eventually went on to act in telenovelas, but this record is a nice combination of pop and more progressive ideas in Latin music, and some of those things give it a very modern, up-to-date sound with her very traditional pop voice.

(Soundbite of "Eternal Joy")

CONTRERAS: Moving on to jazz, we go to the Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album, and I picked this one out because there seems to be a resurgence in big band jazz these days. This record by Joe Lovano is called "Symphonica," and the cut we're going to hear is "Eternal Joy."

(Soundbite of "Eternal Joy")

CONTRERAS: Joe Lovano, who plays tenor and soprano saxophone, and he kind of expands the concepts and the ideas presented in jazz, just to make them more interesting. And on this album, he teams up with a very well-known German big band, two of them actually.

And that is a very subjective preview of the Grammys. There's lots to explore. Most of it, well off the beaten path and hopefully you will find something that you can put on your iPod.

MARTIN: Our thanks to NPR music producer Felix Contreras with that Grammy preview.

MARTIN: And that's our program for today. I'm Michel Martin and this is Tell Me More from NPR News. Let's talk more tomorrow.

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