Landau is a City College teacher who is drawn to the music of Veracruz in Mexico called Son Jarocho. "It comes from a Spanish rhythm called fandango, fandango meaning party, it's a party where there's a 6/8 rhythm," he explained. "Some of the African elements, some of the hybrid elements, mixing Spanish-African and indigenous music styles."
Landau produced the CD performed by the Veracruz group "Los Cojolites." It was good enough to earn him a Grammy nomination in the category of best Mexican Regional Music. It's his sixth nomination. "None of my productions have won, but we feel it's an honor to be nominated, especially since all of these are independent productions with virtually no budget," he said.
Landau says there are other rewards. He uses his knowledge of music to teach students about the history, culture, and art of Latin America. He points out that all of those elements are embedded in a mural by Mexican artist Diego Rivera at City College. "And the music is a reflection of that, a way of honoring ancestors and tradition," he told ABC7 News. "The same way this mural fuses and looks at how these cultures come together," he told a class.
This weekend, Landau will head to Hollywood hoping his sixth Grammy nomination is the charm.