Caribbean islands have been at the center of a lot of fascinating alternative Latin music lately. And one of the region's hottest emerging artists is Dominican singer-songwriter Vicente García. His second album, A La Mar, has garnered four Latin Grammy nominations for Album of the Year, Best New Artist, Best Singer-Songwriter Album and Best Tropical Song (for "Bachata In Kingston"). The album's co-producer Eduardo Cabra, aka Visitante of the hip-hop group Calle 13, was also nominated for Producer of the Year.
Not bad for a guy who just wanted to explore the island and was inspired by its cultural sounds along the way. "I started traveling to fiestas de palo, which are drum parties attached to religions like Santería," García says. "At that time I didn't have an album in mind, but somehow all those experiences, [brought] something to my songwriting. So when I met Eduardo Cabra, I had all these songs with all these aesthetics. Then I started expanding it to Cuba, to Puerto Rico, to Haiti, to the Colombian Caribbean as well, so at the end A La Mar is like a little trip to the Caribbean."
The result is an acoustic journey of genres like bachata, reggae, pri-pri, gagá and more. And "Bachata In Kingston" gives us a glimpse of the sounds, colors and urban life in his new home town of Bogota, Colombia.
The Latin Grammys will be telecast live on Univision on Thursday evening, Nov. 16.