Originally found on Guatacanights.com.

This post is in no way claiming that Ernesto Rangel is the original author. Rather, as a Co-Founder of Guataca Nights, he is spotlighting a great musician (Miguel Siso) by sharing this content.

Identidad a piece original of Miguel Siso with collaboration of Guataca, won the Latin Grammy 2018 for the Best Instrumental Album. This is the first time that a Venezuelan project has been nominated for the category. Miguel Siso’s win by the Latin Recording Academy of the United States represents a triumph for the national instrument and for a generation of musicians that have modernized traditional root music.

Identidad went up against other albums such as Yamandú Costa’s album Recanto, Hamilton de Holanda Trío’s album Jacob 10ZZ, Hermeto Pascoal & Grupo’s No Mundo dos sons, and Alue produced by Airto Moreira. When Miguel Siso won the category, many of those present at the Mandalay Events Center, especially Venezuelans, rose from their chairs. Siso dedicated the award to his country and at the end of his speech said: “Long live Venezuela.”

The album’s roots are Venezuelan and are combined with global sounds to create eleven songs that are both sophisticated and experimental. It uses technology and incorporates foreign spices with deep roots that cross the Guayanés Massif.

Identidad is a reflection of the dizzying development experienced by the Venezuelan cuatro in recent times, partly as a consequence of the La Siembra del Cuatro Festival. The contest was created in 2004 by the master Cheo Hurtado in which Siso was the winner of its third edition. The competition has served to showcase upstanding performers like Carlos Capacho and the three members of the C4 Trio.

The Best Instrumental Album is a category disputed by contemporary projects of the highest quality. Works include Latin jazz, traditional root species, and creators of world music, all big names of the industry.

Artists such as Michel Camilo and Tomatito, Hamilton of Holland, Ed Calle, Bajofondo, Chick Corea, Arturo Sandoval, and Chucho Valdés are all artists that have been awarded in this category in the past.

Miguel was born and raised in Puerto Ordaz and trained at the University Institute of Musical Studies in Caracas. He was not the only Venezuelan victorious during the award ceremony.

At the event, artists from Venezuela were nominated in eight different categories. The trumpeter, composer, and singer Linda Briceño won Producer of the Year for her album 11 which featured Hidden Figures and Ella Bric. Included in that was the production of Second Floor from another Venezuelan artist’s album MV Caldera. Juan Carlos Luces also won that night for Best Tropical Song for his composition “Quiero Tiempo,” interpreted by the Puerto Rican salsa player Víctor Manuelle.