At Thursday night's (Nov. 17) Latin Grammys, the nominees for Best Latin Children's Album will not take the stage. Like many other categories, that one will be presented at an earlier, non-televised ceremony, and that belies the strong tradition of recorded children's music in Latin cultures, and the importance of music education. Fortunately, there's a showing of the strength -- variably, in sound and intention - of Spanish music for young people today among the nominees.
There are familiar Latin Grammy faces here in a category predominated by Colombian artists. Hopefully, their music will inspire adults to explore the rich world of Latin children's music that exists beyond the awards.
Here are the Latin Grammy nominees for the best children's music album:
Marta Gómez, Canciones De Sol
Marta Gomez's Canciones de Sol is a comfort album for the times, with quiet-afternoon appeal for the whole family. The Colombian folk singer and Berklee graduate, who won a children's music Latin Grammy in 2014, got another nod for her latest lovely acoustic set of simple songs with traditional roots and values.
123 Andrés, Arriba Abajo
As 123 Andrés, high-energy children's performer Andrés Salguero scores a second Latin Grammy nomination with his sophomore album, Arriba Abajo. Fronting a jamming band, the Colombian born multi-instrumentalist brings educational messages and bilingual lyrics to a non-stop party. Andrés' message to kids is definitely not about keeping still.
Various Artists, Canciones Y Palabras, Vol. 1
Combining spoken poetry and music, Canciones Y Palabras is a crowdfunded project produced in Spain as an illustrated book and CD set. It features the Cuban poet and storyteller Aldo Méndez and Spanish pianist Hernán Milla and Cuban flute player Carlos Cano, plus more than a hundred musicians and singers from gospel and children's choirs from various countries. The ambitious cultural, educational and social project is a reminder of the importance of exposing children to art.
Omara Portuondo, Canciones De Cri Cri "El Grillo Cantor"
The great Cuban singer Omara Portuondo, of Buena Vista Social Club fame, has performed children's music throughout her career, including her essential version of the Afro-Cuban classic "Drume Negrita." Her latest Latin Grammy-nominated children's recording is a set of songs by the Mexican composer known as "El Cri Cri." recorded on Havana's Bis music label, the album is as yet unavailable in the U.S.
ClaraLuna, 1,2,3 Llega Navidad
Claraluna, a music and dance collective for young people performing peppy pop, big band jazz sounds and Latin rhythms by and for kids was founded two decades ago in Colombia. Acclaimed in its native land for positive messages and work with hospitals and foundations, the children's voices of ClaraLuna make a repeat appearance on the Latin Grammys nomination list with an upbeat Christmas album.