Sour Grupos

The bigger you get, the more people complain about you. That’s the sad fact of life La Mafia is learning to accept. In February the Houston sextet won their second consecutive Grammy, for best Mexican American/tejano music performance, and they’ve just released La Mafia: Hits de Colección, Vol. 1 (Sony Discos)—yet before they even had a chance to savor the award, California’s Los Tigres Del Norte, who’ve been nominated ten times but have won only once, cried foul about the process. “The voters are in Texas, so they’re going to vote for La Mafia or los tejanos, ” says Alfonso de Alba, Los Tigres’ manager. “Also, Los Tigres are not tejano. They’re mexicano regional, so automatically the tejano artists will win. There has to be two categories.” Freddie Martinez, Jr., the president of the Texas chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which presents the Grammys, agrees—about the latter. “There is a need to create a new category,” Hernandez says. “That’s something we’ve been working at for several years.” But biased voting? “To say that is just absurd,” he insists. “More than anything, it’s a sign of sour grapes.” And what does La Mafia’s publicist, Abel Salas, think? As is easy to do when you’re holding the trophy, he’s staying on the high road. “Los Tigres are an institution,” he says. “They’re huge.”

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