Shakira leads nominees for Latin Grammy Awards

The Baltimore Sun

Hips don't lie, Shakira famously sings, but they've sure helped her win accolades, as the Colombian sensation scooped up a field-leading five nominations for the seventh annual Latin Grammy Awards, announced yesterday in New York.

The belly-dancing singer-songwriter was the only artist to be named in the song, record and album categories, for her Spanish-language CD Fijacion Oral Vol. 1 and its reggaeton-tinged hit "La Tortura."

This marks a triumph for Shakira's bicultural and bilingual music-making strategy, crowning her the most completely adapted crossover performer in contemporary pop music. By contrast, predecessors such as singers Julio Iglesias and Ricky Martin have struggled to regain their former footing with Latin fans after crossing over to English-language music.

Shakira's double-barreled success comes at a difficult time for Latin music. Sales are down in the United States and Latin America, and no single trend has created the energy that typically fuels the industry. Reggaeton, the raunchy, supercharged dance music from Puerto Rico that created last year's sensation, got virtually shut out of the top categories this year.

The only reggaeton-related act to earn a top nod was Puerto Rican duo Calle 13, named in the best-new-artist category.

The team of half-brothers, also nominated for urban album and short-form video, has captured acclaim for its irreverent songs, often with biting social messages.

Other artists who garnered four nominations are well established in their fields: Guatemala's socially minded singer-songwriter Ricardo Arjona, Argentina's rock legend Gustavo Cerati and Mexico's pop darling Julieta Venegas.

The provocative video of Arjona's pro-immigrant single "Mojado," filmed at the U.S.-Mexico border, was nominated in the short-form video category.

The surprise this year falls to Fonseca, a relative newcomer from Colombia who earned three nominations, including a record-of-the-year nomination for the tropically flavored "Te Mando Flores" ("I Send You Flowers").

The Latin Grammy Awards will be broadcast on Univision on Nov. 2.

Agustin Gurza writes for the Los Angeles Times.

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