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Shakira at 2001 GRAMMYs

Shakira at 2001 GRAMMYs

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GRAMMY Rewind: Shakira Wins Her First GRAMMY For Best Latin Pop Album In 2001

"Everything I do… is dedicated to my country, Colombia. That in spite of our tough reality, we keep our spirit joyful and alive," Shakira declared in her acceptance speech

GRAMMYs/Feb 6, 2021 - 01:22 am

For the latest episode of GRAMMY Rewind, GRAMMY.com celebrates legendary Latin pop reina Shakira's birthday (Feb. 2) by traveling back to 2001 when she won her first-ever GRAMMY.

Below, watch the Colombian singer, rocking cascading blonde curls and a backless gold-and-earth-toned dress, accept the Best Latin Pop Album award for 2000's Shakira MTV Unplugged at the 43rd GRAMMY Awards.

"Everything I do…is dedicated to my country, Colombia. That in spite of our tough reality, we keep our spirit joyful and alive," Shakira said in her acceptance speech.

The live album was also nominated for Album Of The Year at the 1st Latin GRAMMY Awards in 2000, where she won her first two Latin GRAMMYs (for "Octavo Día" and "Ojos Así"). She received her first GRAMMY nomination at the 41st GRAMMY Awards, for her fourth album, Dónde Están los Ladrones?

GRAMMY Rewind: Watch The Roots And Erykah Badu Gleefully Win Their First GRAMMY in 2000

Marco Rentería and Saul Hernandez of Caifanes perform
Caifanes

Photo: Zeus Lopez

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Revisiting 'El Nervio Del Volcán' At 30: How Caifanes' Final Album Became A Classic In Latin American Rock

Released in June 1994, 'El Nervio Del Volcán' was a high point of the rock en español explosion and a serious evolution in the Mexican band's sound. Decades after its release, GRAMMY.com explores the story behind and impact of Caifanes' legendary LP.

GRAMMYs/Jun 28, 2024 - 04:04 pm

As its title suggests, the final album from iconic Mexican rock band Caifanes heralded an explosive new evolution in hybrid rock. El Nervio Del Volcán ("nerve of the volcano" in English), was the culmination of a years-long quest by the band to alchemize modern rock and Latin American music. 

Released June 29, 1994, El Nervio Del Volcán represents a high point of Mexico’s rock en español explosion. The 11-track album — the band's fourth release — saw Califanes continuing to explore the sounds of Mexico and Latin America, while broadening their sonic palette with jazz and country. 

Since their formation in 1987, Caifanes had been working to refine a sound that was both commercially successful, highly original, and beloved by critics and fans alike. For their efforts, El Nervio became the second Spanish-language rock album to chart on the Billboard Latin 50. Rolling Stone, which rarely gave Spanish-language music column inches, gave the album a glowing review. Caifanes became the first Mexican band to play on MTV’s "Unplugged" in October 1994. The next year, they opened for the Rolling Stones in Mexico City. 

While Caifanes might have been the leading band of Mexico’s rock en español movement, they were part of a cohort that included bands like Café Tacuba, Maldita Vecindad, and Fobia — which were experimenting with new fusions of traditional Latin American and rock sounds. Caifanes was at the vanguard of the Mexico City-centric movement, and El Nervio showcased the band's skill in developing "strong hits, and experimental things, which I think kind of worked," music journalist Ed Morales tells GRAMMY.com. 

In an interview, Mexican rock historian Federico Rubli calls the record  "a very important album, that maybe in its time wasn’t sufficiently appreciated. Even today, 30 years later, it’s difficult to recognize how great a work it was." If the crossover success weren't appreciation enough, El Nervio is notable for the way in which it set a high standard in songwriting and production for other bands that followed. 

Caifanes was daring beyond their sonic experimentation. Like most Mexican rock bands at the time, their music was prohibited from being played on the radio and they  risked arrest for performing. By the time of their first concert at the legendary Rockotitlan festival in Mexico City in 1987, though, there was no stopping what would soon become a new rock movement. The following year, they broke through the government’s music blockade when their first single, "Mátenme Porque Me Muero" ("Kill me because I am dying"), hit the airwaves. 

The follow-up single, "La Negra Tomasa," a post-punk inflected cumbia rocker that became a smash hit across the country, selling a record 500,000 copies. Their self-titled debut album was released shortly thereafter, with the band members looking like extras from a movie about goth subculture on the cover. Their third album, 1992’s El Silencio, found the band more musically confident than ever before. Producer Adrian Below — the former guitarist and frontman of King Crimson who had also played with David Bowie and Talking Heads — helped the band expand their musical palette with "cotton-candy high notes, rumbling ocean rhythms with upsurges that bellows like sea elephants," music critic Chuck Eddy wrote

Everything changed for the rock en español movement in 1993, when the pop-rock outfit Maná, which played a syrupy mix of tropical-influenced music, sold a million copies of its second album, ¿Dónde Jugarán Los Niños? Record labels were suddenly pursuing the next hit-making Latin band and BMG, which had signed most of the major rock en español bands, considered Caifanes its star rockers. 

The band had fractured as they prepared to go back to the studio, with original bassist Sabo Romo and keyboardist Diego Herrera leaving the group. With the increased backing by their label, the trio of lead singer/songwriter and guitarist Saúl Hernández, Argentine-born guitarist Alejandro Marcovich, and drummer Alfonso André traveled to Burbank, California, to record El Nervio Del Volcán GRAMMY-winning producer Greg Ladanyi (known for his work with Toto, Fleetwood Mac, and The Church) was brought into the O’Henry Sound Studios, along with a few special guests. Famed trumpeter Jerry Hey (known for his work on Michael Jackson’s "Thriller") and Graham Nash both appear on El Nervio. 

The songs that Hernández largely wrote and that the other band members would coalesce around were heavily influenced by Mexican folkloric sounds, though Marcovich in particular introduced a variety of Latin American sounds with his guitar. Throughout El Nervio, Caifanes flows effortlessly between genres:  a bit of rustic son huasteco ("La llorona"), jolts of metal ("El Animal"), and Caribbean rhythms  ("Aviéntame").

Rubli tells GRAMMY.com that the album was notably different from the band’s previous releases, largely due to Marcovich being given leeway with the guitar arrangements. "El Nervio Del Volcán is a much more rounded album, more integrated, with a sequence in each song that is, you might say, more logical," he says in Spanish. "And a lot of that is due to the liberty that Alejandro had to arrange them as he wanted."

Soul-stirring anthem "Afuera" was an unusual choice for a lead single — it features an instrumental guitar interlude that lasts for more than a minute —  but proved brilliant. Even Markovich, the guitarist who wrote the interlude, was dubious about its commercial potential. 

"I never could have imagined it would be a single," he said in 2022 on the podcast "Cuéntame Un Disco." "I even told the record company that they might want to do a more radio friendly version without it, but they left it and it worked." 

Today the song is popular among musicians on YouTube precisely because of its interlude. 

Second single "Aqui No Es Asi" was also a hit. Marcovich, again on the podcast, said he was writing melodies on the guitar when he found an unusual rhythm "between Caribbean and Andean." "It was a strange mix," he said. 

Hernández has been called the "poet laureate of Mexican rock," and has often weaved social themes and indigenous mysticism into the lyrics of his songs. In the propulsive "Aqui no es asi," Hernandez obliquely refers to two different places — one materialistic and out of touch with spirituality, and the other a land "where blood is sacrificed for love." The song has been interpreted as a criticism of Eurocentric values that have marginalized more indigenous ones. 

The album slows down considerably with the acoustic, melancholic hymn "Ayer me dijo un ave." Now one of the band’s signature songs, the song is about strength in the face of adversity. Its lyrics are heavy with surrealistic imagery: "Yesterday a bird told me while flying where there is no heat," Hernández sings. "That the long-suffering are not resurrected in dreams." 

Many of the other songs have become classics in Mexico and among Spanish-speakers in the U.S. Highlights include the full-throttle tropical-tinged "Aviéntame"; "Pero Nunca Me Caí," which features Nash on harmonica; and "Quisiera Ser Alcohol," a jazz-influenced lament with trumpet from Hey and a sumptuous fretless bass from guest Stuart Hamm.

More Sounds From Latin America & Beyond

Rafael Catana, an influential folk-rock musician in Mexico City who has hosted a music show on government-funded radio since 1997, says Caifanes' last album "arrived at a crucial moment in Mexican history" when the country was undergoing a massive social and economic transformation. Both sonically and in its production, El Nervio reflected the conflict between Mexico's interest in transnational capitalism and its underclass.  

In the early 1990s, elites had opened the country to a flood of foreign corporate investment with the North American Free Trade Agreement. On Jan. 1, 1994, an armed indigenous uprising against those policies by the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional challenged the government unlike any other group had attempted in decades. (Security forces had warned against political dissidence when they massacred student protesters in Mexico City in 1968 and launched a dirty war to round up "subversives" and marginalize the counterculture, including rock bands).

While El Nervio doesn’t explicitly mention any of these historical points, it is clearly a product of the era, filled with evocations of Indigenous musical traditions despite being produced by a major corporate label. During the tour in support of the album, the band made it clear that they were on the side of Mexico’s most oppressed class, with footage of Indigenous villages and archeological sites shown during their concerts. Hernández would sometimes call on audiences to support Mexico’s native people. 

Backstage, the relationship between Marcovich and Hernández became impossible and contributed to the breakup of the band. The rupture between them would become a subject of headlines in the media. Though the exact details of their conflict remain vague, the band played their final show on Aug. 18, 1995, in San Luis Potosí. A legal dispute over the name Caifanes endured for years. 

By the time Caifanes broke up, rock en español was entering a new phase led by the indie-folkloric experimentation of Café Tacuba. Other musical trends also started emerging: the rap-rock of Molotov, the electro of Plastilina Mosh, the commercial explosion of Juanes' tropical pop, the Caribbean alternative rock of Aterciopelados.  

In the interim, Hernandez formed a new band with André. Their Jaguares channeled a more aggressive sound, and their 2008 album 45, took home a golden gramophone for Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album at the 2009 GRAMMYs. In 2011, the original members of Caifanes reunited to play Coachella.

But the truce between Hernández and Marcovich didn’t last, and the guitarist once again left the band. A reunited Caifanes, with original members Hernandez and André, are on tour in 2024 with fellow Mexico City rockers Café Tacuba. 

Mexican music journalist David Cortes, who has written several books on Latin American music, said the band was at their creative peak with El Nervio Del Volcán and had established a striking balance between traditional music and foreign sounds. Ultimately, though, the break-up of the band limited its influence over the years. 

"They wanted to go further," he says in Spanish. "And there are hints of where they might have gone."

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La Santa Cecilia poses for a photo together in front of a step and repeat at the GRAMMY Museum
La Santa Cecilia

Photo: Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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La Santa Cecilia Celebrates Their 'Alma Bohemia' With Documentary Screening & Performance At The GRAMMY Museum

In a documentary screening detailing the making of their album 'Cuatro Copas' followed by a discussion and live performance at the GRAMMY Museum, La Santa Cecilia recounts years of making music and friendship.

GRAMMYs/Apr 9, 2024 - 06:32 pm

"Oh no, I’m going to start crying again," says La Santa Cecilia singer La Marisoul during a touching scene in Alma Bohemia, the documentary directed by Carlos Pérez honoring the Los Angeles band’s 15 year anniversary. 

As it turns out, there are many reasons to be emotional about this film — and the very existence of La Santa Cecilia in the contemporary Latin music landscape. Fittingly, Alma Bohemia was received enthusiastically by the capacity audience during an exclusive screening on April 3 at the GRAMMY Museum’s Clive Davis Theater in Los Angeles. 

Formed by La Marisoul (real name is Marisol Hernández), bassist Alex Bendaña, accordionist and requinto player José "Pepe" Carlos and percussionist Miguel "Oso" Ramírez, La Santa Cecilia was for years one of the best kept secrets in the Los Angeles music scene.  As close friends and musicians, they won over audiences with an organic, down-to-earth sound and a lovely songbook that draws from traditional formats such as bolero, ranchera and nueva canción.

Alma Bohemia follows the making of La Santa’s 2023 album, Cuatro Copas Bohemia en la Finca Altozano. A celebration of the band’s longevity, the session also functions as a subtle, yet powerful musical experiment. It was recorded at the Finca Altozano in Baja California, where the band members stayed as guests of celebrated chef Javier Plascencia — a longtime fan.

Argentine producer Sebastián Krys — the band’s longtime collaborator — calls this his Alan Lomax experiment. The album was recorded live on tape with a variety of strategically placed microphones capturing hints of ambient sonics — a sweet afternoon breeze, the clinking of glasses, the musicians’ banter, the soft sounds that accompany stillness. 

From the very beginning, the making of Cuatro Copas mirrors the band’s bohemian cosmovision: A communal approach where the quartet — together with carefully selected guest stars — get together to share the magic of creation, the unity of like-minded souls, homemade food, and more than a couple of drinks. In effect, the bottles of mezcal and never ending rounds of toasting quickly become a running joke throughout the documentary.

La Marisoul’s fragile lament is enveloped in spiraling lines of mournful electric guitars with soulful understatement on the track "Almohada." Guest artists liven things up, with Oaxacan sister duo Dueto Dos Rosas adding urgency to "Pescadores de Ensenada," while son jarocho master Patricio Hidalgo ventures into a lilting (yet hopeful) "Yo Vengo A Ofrecer Mi Corazón," the ‘90s Argentine rock anthem by Fito Páez.

Visibly delighted to be part of the bohemia, 60-year-old ranchera diva Aida Cuevas steals the show with her rousing rendition of "Cuatro Copas," the José Alfredo Jiménez classic. "Viva México!" she exclaims as the entire group sits around a bonfire at night, forging the past and future of Mexican American music into one.

Read more: La Santa Cecilia Perform "Someday, Someday New"

Following the screening, the band sat down for a Q&A session hosted by journalist Betto Arcos. Sitting on the first row, a visibly moved young woman from El Salvador thanked the band for helping her to cope with the complex web of feelings entailed in migrating from Latin America. La Santa’s songs, she said, reminded her of the loving abuelita who stayed behind.

"We love the old boleros and rancheras," said La Marisoul. "We became musicians by playing many of those songs in small clubs and quinceañeras. It’s a repertoire that we love, and I don’t think that will ever change."

Carlos touched on his experience being a member of Santa Cecilia for about seven years before he was able to secure legal status in the U.S. When the band started to get concert bookings in Texas, they would take long detours on their drives to avoid the possibility of being stopped by the authorities. Carlos thanked his wife Ana for the emotional support she provided during those difficult years.

Ramírez took the opportunity to acknowledge producer Krys for being an early champion of the band. "He had a vision, and he made us better," he said, flashing forward to a recent edition of the Vive Latino festival. "There were about 12,000 people to see us," he said. "And they were singing along to our tunes."

"The band is just an excuse to hang out with your friends," added La Marisoul just before La Santa performed two live songs. Her voice sounded luminous and defiant in the theater’s intimate space, always the protagonist in the group’s delicately layered arrangements.

"The first time I got to see the finished documentary, I felt proud of all the work we’ve done together," said producer Krys from his Los Angeles studio the day after the screening. "On the other hand, there’s a lot of work ahead of us. I believe La Santa Cecilia deserves wider exposure. They should be up there among the greatest artists in Latin music."

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Megan Thee Stallion at the 2021 GRAMMYs
Megan Thee Stallion at the 2021 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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GRAMMY Rewind: Megan Thee Stallion Went From "Savage" To Speechless After Winning Best New Artist In 2021

Relive the moment Megan Thee Stallion won the coveted Best New Artist honor at the 2021 GRAMMYs, where she took home three golden gramophones thanks in part to her chart-topping smash "Savage."

GRAMMYs/Apr 5, 2024 - 05:25 pm

In 2020, Megan Thee Stallion solidified herself as one of rap's most promising new stars, thanks to her hit single "Savage." Not only was it her first No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100, but the "sassy, moody, nasty" single also helped Megan win three GRAMMYs in 2021.

In this episode of GRAMMY Rewind, revisit the sentimental moment the Houston "Hottie" accepted one of those golden gramophones, for Best New Artist.

"I don't want to cry," Megan Thee Stallion said after a speechless moment at the microphone. Before starting her praises, she gave a round of applause to her fellow nominees in the category, who she called "amazing."

Along with thanking God, she also acknowledged her manager, T. Farris, for "always being with me, being by my side"; her record label, 300 Entertainment, for "always believing in me, sticking by through my craziness"; and her mother, who "always believed I could do it."

Megan Thee Stallion's "Savage" remix with Beyoncé also helped her win Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance that night — marking the first wins in the category by a female lead rapper.

Press play on the video above to watch Megan Thee Stallion's complete acceptance speech for Best New Artist at the 2021 GRAMMY Awards, and remember to check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of GRAMMY Rewind.

Black Sounds Beautiful: How Megan Thee Stallion Turned Viral Fame Into A GRAMMY-Winning Rap Career

Beyonce on stage accepting the GRAMMY Award for "Halo" During Her Record-Setting Night In 2010
Beyonce on stage accepting the GRAMMY Award for "Halo" During Her Record-Setting Night In 2010

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

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GRAMMY Rewind: Watch Beyoncé Win A GRAMMY For "Halo" During Her Record-Setting Night In 2010

As you dive into Beyoncé's new album, 'COWBOY CARTER,' revisit the moment Queen Bey won a GRAMMY for "Halo," one of six golden gramophones she won in 2010.

GRAMMYs/Mar 29, 2024 - 05:05 pm

Amongst Beyoncé's expansive catalog, "Halo" is easily one of her most iconic songs. Today, the 2009 single is her most-streamed song on Spotify; it was her first video to reach one billion views on YouTube; and it helped her set one of her GRAMMY records in 2010.

In this episode of GRAMMY Rewind, watch the superstar take the stage to accept Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "Halo" in 2010 — the year she became the first female artist to win six GRAMMYs in one night.

"This has been such an amazing night for me, and I'd love to thank the GRAMMYs," she said, admitting she was nervous before taking a deep breath.

Before leaving the stage, Beyoncé took a second to thank two more special groups: "I'd love to thank my family for all of their support, including my husband. I love you. And I'd like to thank all of my fans for their support over the years."

The five other awards Beyoncé took home that night were for the coveted Song Of The Year ("Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)") and four R&B Categories: Best Contemporary R&B Album (I Am... Sasha Fierce), Best R&B Song ("Single Ladies"), Best Female R&B Vocal Performance ("Single Ladies"), and Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance (for her cover of Etta James' "At Last"). 

As of 2024, Beyoncé has won the most GRAMMY Awards in history with 32 wins.

Press play on the video above to relive Queen Bey's "Halo" win for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, and check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of GRAMMY Rewind.

Enter The World Of Beyoncé