Music from Ireland, Africa, Jamaica, Poland and several Spanish-speaking countries will reap the prestige and potential economic benefits associated with the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards, whose nominees the Recording Academy announced Wednesday (January 3) during a Los Angeles ceremony.
Irish traditionalists the Chieftains' Water From the Well goes up against Brazilian bossa nova legend João Gilberto's João Voz e Violão, South African songbird Miriam Makeba's Homeland, Senegalese star Youssou N'Dour's Joko (The Link), and American group Paul Winters and the Earth Band's New-Agey Journey With the Sun in the Best World Music Album category.
Best Reggae Album pits deceased reggae prince Dennis Brown's Let Me Be the One against venerable vocal trio the Wailing Souls' Equality, veteran lovers' rocker Gregory Isaacs' Private & Confidential, British toaster Pato Banton's Life Is a Miracle and Beenie Man's slick dancehall effort, Art and Life.
Eddie Blazonczyk's Versatones' Another Day at the Office, Lenny Gomulka & Chicago Push's Mi Lenny Um, LynnMarie's Squeeze Box, Walter Ostanek's Let's Dance and Jimmy Sturr's Touched by a Polka are Best Polka Album nominees.
No artist gained more than a single nomination in the seven Latin categories.
Boxer-turned-crooner Oscar de la Hoya's eponymous album enters the ring against Christina Aguilera's Mi Reflejo, Luis Miguel's Vivo, Alejandro Sanz's El Alma al Aire and Shakira's MTV Unplugged for Best Latin Pop Album.
Café Quijano's La Extraordinaria Paradoja del Sonido Quijano, El Tri's No Podemos Volar, La Ley's Uno, Los Amigos Invisibles' Arepa 3000 and Fito Paez's Abre were nominated for Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album.
Two members of the Buena Vista Social Club Eliades Ochoa and Omara Portuondo are up for Best Traditional Tropical Latin Album with Gloria Estefan, Alex Acuña y Su Acuarela de Tambores and Cuban bassist Cachao.
Pop en español group Son by Four are unlikely competitors against the likes of Celia Cruz, the late Tito Puente (with Eddie Palmieri), Luis Enrique and Tony Vega for Best Salsa Album.
Dominican and Puerto Rican performers Fulanito, Gisselle, Grupo Manía, Ilegales and Olga Tañón were nominated for Best Merengue Album.
"What a great 24 hours for Puerto Rican women," Gisselle said when told of her nomination. "Yesterday we get our first woman governor, and today both myself and Olga receive Grammy nominations."
Freddie Records is guaranteed to win the Best Mexican/Mexican-American Album award insofar as the label supplied all the category's nominees: Jimmy Gonzalez y el Grupo Mazz's Quien Iva a Pensar, Leonardo Gonzales y los Magnificos' Siempre Cuenta Conmigo, Jaime y los Chamacos' En Vivo...Puro Party Live II, the Legends' Qué Es Música Tejana? and Soldido's Hasta la Cima del Cielo.
The contenders for Best Mexican/Mexican-American Album are Pepe Aguilar's Por una Mujer Bonita, Ramón Ayala y Sus Bravos del Norte's Quémame los Ojos, Vicente Fernández's Lobo Horido, Grupo Atrapado's Atrapando Tu Corazon and Los Terribles del Norte's Décimo Aniversario.