Congratulations to Little Joe y La Familia and Grupo Fantasma for their Grammy victories last Sunday in LA. Little Joe won for Best Tejano Album, which was well within the realm of possibility. But nobody, and I mean nobody, saw Grupo Fantasma’s victory in the Best Latin Rock, Alternative, or Urban Album coming.
Not because the album, El Existential, didn’t deserve it, but because the competition was fierce. A former Menudo (Draco Rosa, who co-wrote Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca” and is a well-regarded dark alternative artist) was in the mix, as were three new acts signed to a label run by Tom Cookman (Nacional Records), one of the most powerful (and smart) names in all of Latin music: Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux; banda/norteña/techno mixmasters Bostich+Fussible (from Nortec Collective); and my personal favorites to win, Colombian rappers ChocQuibTown. But Grupo Fantasma scored an upset and beat them all.
Which brings me to the next point: the worst you can say about The Recording Academy is that the voters are full of it, but there’s no mafia going on. GF won fair and square, and if you don’t like it, I have advice for you: join the Academy and vote. All you need is six credits (one song = one credit; if you’ve ever released an album, that makes you a potential voting member). You can vote for yourself, others, or others can vote for you. I know what you’re saying: “The Grammys suck.” Yes, they do, until you win or are nominated for one. I’ve heard all that before. No, you’re not necessarily going to get rich or win a Grammy by joining, but ask Max Baca, Sunny Sauceda, Stefani Montiel, Elida Reyna, Joe Posada, Little Joe and the many other Tejano artists who have won or been nominated before whether a nomination or a win helps. It does. It’s sweet.
If you’re over it and just want to enjoy more local music, as of February 12 there’s a new option for you: Indie River Radio (indieriverradio.com). The brainchild of Boneshakers and Even I Have Seizures productions streams San Anto music 24 hours a day, and it sounds great. A launch party is scheduled for February 19. If you want to be played, save your song in the format “band name-song name.mp3” and email to.
Before I forget: special kudos to Milwaukee-born, San Anto-based El Güero (The White-skinned Dude) y su Banda Centenario, who won a Grammy in the tough-as-nails Northern Mexican banda category. He beat heavyweights like Los Recoditos (the youth version of El Recodo, the biggest banda of them all), Cuisillos, El Limón, and El Chapo. I know you’ve been waiting for this newsflash, so here it is.