Angela Álvarez, 95, oldest musician nominated for best new artist

Álvarez will be at the Latin Grammy Awards Nov. 17

Angela Álvarez’s children and grandchildren grew up to the soundtrack of her music. Now, at 95, Álvarez released her first album and is nominated for best new artist at the Latin Grammy Awards.

Her passion for music began in her homeland of Cuba where she started writing music at the age of 14, according to Today. Her traditional father forbade her from following her passion, yet she never stopped writing. Her songs narrate her life story, echoing her experiences of joy, love, heartbreak and loss.

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After settling down with a family of her own in Cuba, the Cuban revolution led her to make a big decision for her family in 1962 — she sent her four children to the United States. She could only join them years later, leaving her husband behind. She retold her stories to her children and grandchildren through music, inspiring one of her grandchildren, film composer Carlos José Álvarez, to record her music.

“As a musician, we need to always celebrate the music that came before us,” Carlos told the Washington Post. “The fact that she was nominated for best new artist, for music that she started writing in the 1940s, is just unbelievable.”

“The idea that at 95 years old, you can still be recognized for what you’ve done,” he continued, “that is the gold. We have won. We have won on every level.”

With the help of her grandson, she released her self-titled album in 2021 which has 15 songs. She’s set to perform at the Latin Grammys where she’s the oldest musician to be nominated for best new artist.

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“It was a very big but very beautiful surprise, and I thought afterward that all my dreams came true. At 95, but that doesn’t matter,” she told Billboard.

Grandmother and grandson plan to attend upcoming Latin Grammy celebrations — and the former is scheduled to perform at the Best New Artists showcase and attend the ceremony Nov. 17.

Carlos hopes her music inspires younger generations to talk with their elders and learn from their experiences and wisdom.

“Ask them questions,” he said. “Ask them about the dreams they had once upon a time. They will be surprised at what they will find. If we don’t ask them, they won’t tell us, and their wisdom and dreams will leave with them.”

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