Bolero Ballads Are Going Strong in 4 Releases

The bolero reached its height of popularity in the 1950s, and is now making a strong comeback. Two years ago, the Rodven record label released "100 anos del bolero," a five-volume collection of this ballad form on cassettes and CD, and it is still selling well. It features original recordings of the Trio Los Panchos, Jose Mojica, Celia Cruz, Armando Manzanero and other artists. More recently, Luis Miguel has sold more than 4 million copies of his album "Romance," introducing old favorites to younger audiences. And now Gloria Estefan, Lissette ("Lissette . . . canta lo sentimental") and Vikki Carr are featuring boleros in new albums.

Vikki Carr's newest album, "Brindo a la vida, al bolero, a ti," features 14 boleros, including an English version of "Di como te dejo de amar" ("How Do I Stop Loving You?"). She has since been focusing her energies on a joint venture of sorts. The Texas-born singer plans to get married June 5 to San Antonio physician Pedro de Leon, whom she first met 22 years ago. But it looks like wedding bells will not slow her down. Early in her career, Carr said, she was inspired by a quote from singer Peggy Lee: "It's important for an artist to grow." Among her plans: develop a TV series in English about an independent woman; a TV talk show, also in English, showing Latinos in a positive light; a possible guest appearance on the soap opera "Days of Our Lives," and possibly doing a 1940s big band album in English. "I never imagined the success I'd reach in Spanish, and I am very happy," said Carr, who will perform at the Greek Theatre on May 14.

The government of Panama has rescinded its decision to ban the showing of the U.S. film "The Panama Deception." The film, directed by Barbara Trent, won an Academy Award for best documentary feature. Panamanian censors had claimed that the film, which focuses on the 1989 U.S. invasion that ousted Gen. Manuel Noriega, distorts facts and makes "reckless accusations" against President Guillermo Endara. The decision was reversed after international protests by media professionals, politicians, actors and others.

Nominations have been announced for the annual Premios lo Nuestro a la Musica Latina Awards. Topping the list with six nominations is recent Grammy winner Jon Secada. Recipients of five nominations each are Mexico's Luis Miguel, Dominican chart-toppers Juan Luis Guerra y 4:40, and the Mexican group Bronco. Other groups and artists who received multiple nominations include La Mafia, Los Temerarios, Ana Gabriel, Ricardo Montaner, Selena and Grammy winner Linda Ronstadt. The award show, presented by Billboard magazine and the Univision network, will take place in Miami on May 20.

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