Do you do this, or is it just me? For years I’ve listened to the music nominated to the Latin Grammys ahead of the broadcast to pick a winner (even though it’s usually NOT the one that actually takes the award), just for fun. So, how about this year?
Following are the releases nominated for Best Salsa Album. There are interesting things about them that I want to share. I’m pinpointing a song or two out of each work, but do go and listen to the entire albums. Your house will be so clean by the time you’re done!
- SERA QUE SE ACABO – Alexander Abreu y Havana D’Primera
This is a massive album of 20 songs, 1 hour, 40 minutes long, that was released in June of 2021. As you would expect from Abreu, it explodes with energy. I fell in love with his version of Chucho Valdes’ “Boliviana,” which I had heard before in the voice of Ibrahim Ferrer. So here are the two versions. I feel Abreu did a great job in his arrangement. What do you think?
- PA’LLA VOY – Marc Anthony
If you know the Senegalese band Africando, your ears perked up when you heard Marc Anthony’s re-do of the song “Yay Boy.” Originally sung in the Wolof language, “Yay Boy” was released in 1994. “Pa’Lla Voy” is such a clever version of it in Spanish!
This album includes 9 songs, it’s 36 minutes long, and was released in March of this year.
- LUIS FIGUEROA – Luis Figueroa
This is an eponymous EP. – Say what? – This is a short release (5 songs) that lasts less than 30 minutes (just under 17 min. actually) and that is named after the artist himself. Luis Figueroa is rather new to me. I first saw him performing at Premios Lo Nuestro, and now, here he is, in the midst of greatness. One song out of this EP (“Fiesta Contigo”) is also running in the Best Tropical Song category, but, if I had to pick one song out of the album, I’d rather listen to his rendition of “Un Monton de Estrellas.”
- Y TE LO DICE… – Luisito Ayala y la Puerto Rican Power
This album has 8 songs, is 34 minutes long, and was released February of 2022. With one exception, the songs were penned by different writers, all produced by Ayala. They are all danceable, with the voices right on point. “Ya Me Cure” is one of my favorites.
- LADO A LADO B – Victor Manuelle
Here’s another huge album with 17 songs, 1 hour and 10 minutes long, that was released in April of this year. It’s divided in two sections – Lado A is a selection of modern Salsa with some fusions and collaborations with Miky Woodz, Farina, and La India. Lado B, in Victor Manuelle’s own words, is more “traditional, with a classic sound that evokes the music of the past.”
“Besito Suave,” in Lado A, is a cha-cha featuring Farina that I really like.
“Si Es Cuestion de Imaginar” is a bolero in Lado B with gorgeous lyrics that I hope everyone takes the time to listen.
I think the award should go to Victor Manuelle, but please don’t tell him. I don’t want him to get his hopes up. Who do you think will win the Best Salsa Album award? After you listen to the music, let me know!