Mark your calendars for Feb. 24. With more than 80 music categories covering everything from classical to rap, this year's Grammy awards ceremony, to be televised locally by KCBS, Channel 2, promises plenty of excitement. A growing number of Latino artists are in contention for awards in "non-Latino" categories, and in the three Latino divisions several Grammy winners, including Julio Iglesias, Luis Miguel, Ray Barretto, Ruben Blades, Celia Cruz, Los Tigres del Norte and Linda Ronstadt are again vying for awards.
In the Best Latin Pop Album category, two newcomers, Veronica Castro's teen-age son, Cristian ("Agua nueva") and Jon Secada ("Otro dia mas sin verte") compete against veterans Julio Iglesias ("Calor"), Luis Miguel ("Romance"), Raphael ("Ave Fenix"), and Jose Luis Rodriguez ("El Puma en ritmo").
For Best Tropical Latin Album, there's Puerto Rican Ray Barretto ("Soy dichoso"), the ever popular group El Gran Combo ("Gracias"), Panama's Ruben Blades ("Amor y control"), Cuba's Celia Cruz ("Tributo a Ismael Rivera"), and Linda Ronstadt ("Frenesi"). Ronstadt is also nominated for Best Mexican-American Album for her "Mas canciones" LP, which finds her competing against Los Diablos ("Un nuevo comienzo"), Los Tigres del Norte ("Con sentimiento y sabor"), Emilio Navaira ("Unsung Highways") and Mingo Saldivar y sus Tremendos Cuatro Espadas ("I Love My Freedom, I Love My Texas").
Artists nominated in non-Latino categories include Jon Secada, Best New Artist; perennial rock favorites Santana and the East L.A.-based group Los Lobos; Mariah Carey, whose father is Venezuelan, and folk singer Joan Baez. In the classical field, pianist Alicia de Larrocha from Spain is pitted against Cuban-born colleague Horacio Gutierrez, and tenor Placido Domingo is up for three awards. Spain's The Gipsy Kings and Brazil's Sergio Mendes are among nominees battling it out in the Worldmusic category. In the composers' categories Argentina's late tango legend, Astor Piazzola and Cuban-born trumpeter Arturo Sandoval have been nominated. Winners are selected by more than 7,000 members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS).
Nine-year-old Sabrina Wiener of Hacienda Heights is featured in an upcoming NBC drama that stars singer-actor Ruben Blades. "Miracle on I-880" is based on the Oct. 17, 1989, San Francisco Bay Area earthquake. The 7.1-magnitude quake caused the collapse of the I-880 freeway, trapping motorists under tons of concrete and asphalt. Sabrina, whose mother is from Peru, plays Blades' daughter, who is among victims trapped in the rubble. The telefilm also stars David Morse, Sandy Duncan, Len Cariou and Ada Maris of the NBC series "Nurses." It will air Feb. 22 at 9 p.m.