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The Fifth,
a Charm

In 1995 when he was nominated for a Grammy in World Music for his album Angelus, Brazilian composer and singer, Milton Nascimento, was competing against the Gipsy Kings among others. He lost. The flamenco loving French band was again the one to beat in the latest version of the Oscar of the music industry. It was Milton's turn this time.

The Rio born, but Minas Gerais raised singer-composer won with Nascimento, a CD released in 1997. The other singers nominated in the category were Cesaria Evora from Cabo Verde, Nigerian Babatunde Olatunji, and Ali Akbar Khan born in Bangladesh. Brazilian Banda Mantiqueira was also running in the Latin jazz category. American trumpetist Roy Hargrove was the winner though.

For Milton it was a very special victory coming at a moment in which he has been recuperating from serious health problems. At the end of last year he was forced to cancel several concerts in the U.S.. Due to his dramatic loss of weight the Brazilian press rumored that the singer-composer had AIDS, which made Nascimento hurt and angry. His doctor in the United States declared though that he was suffering from an acute case of diabetes.

It was the fifth time Milton was nominated for a Grammy and the first one he snubbed it, ignoring the New York ceremony and choosing instead to go partying with friends in the Salvador (state of Bahia) Carnaval. With this victory Nascimento joined, among others, João Gilberto, who with Stan Getz won in 1964 for The Girl from Ipanema as best album. That same year the Grammy for best record went to Brazilian singer Astrud Gilberto also for "The Girl from Ipanema." In 1973, Eumir Deodato with his version of Richard Strauss's "Also Sprach Zaratustra" was considered best pop instrumental interpreter. Roberto Carlos was chosen in 1988 as best Latin pop singer and Sérgio Mendes was the winner of the world music best record in 1993 for Brasileiro. In 1996, Tom Jobim won a posthumous prize for Antônio Brasileiro in the Latin jazz category.

Brazil has won a total of 12 Grammys so far. Laurindo de Almeida alone—he is a São Paulo musician who moved to the U.S. in 1947—has won five of the awards, starting in 1960, when he got it twice for Conversations With the Guitar (best instrumental classic music) and for The Spanish Guitars of Laurindo de Almeida (instrumental solo). In 1961, with Discantus, he shared the prize of best contemporary jazz composition with Igor Stravinsky. Three years later, Guitar from Ipanema would give him a Grammy as the best jazz performer.

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