Javier Limón and Nella Release New Version of the Latin Grammy–Nominated 'Mi Guitarra'
When this fall’s Flamenco Music and Production students showed up for class on Tuesday, September 28, they had no idea that day’s lesson would involve working on a song nominated for a Latin Grammy with the artists who created it. That’s because the nomination for Song of the Year had only been announced hours before the class began.
The song, “Mi Guitarra,” written by Javier Limón, artistic director of the Mediterranean Music Institute, appears on his latest album, Hombres de Fuego, and features vocals by alums Nella Rojas B.M. ’15 (who performs as Nella) and Latin music legend Juan Luis Guerra ’82. All three artists are no strangers to the Latin Grammys, having won a number of them over the years, with Nella notably garnering Best New Artist in 2019.
The lyrics of the song tell the story of a musician looking for the perfect guitar, only to realize that the old guitar he’s played his whole career is actually the one he’s been searching for. Making things a bit meta, Limón drew inspiration from his own life and recorded the song about an old guitar—using his old guitar.
In a way, the song suggests that sometimes the perfect answer is closer to home than you thought. Even though Boston is no longer home for Nella, Limón had invited her back to her college stomping grounds so the two could continue working on the follow-up to her 2021 record, Doce Margaritas—and hey, since she’ll be around, why not drop in as a visiting artist in the flamenco production class, co-led by Limón and Rob Jaczko, chair of the Music Production and Engineering Department?
Once the Latin Grammy news went out—which also included nominations for some of Limón and Nella’s other respective projects from 2021—the choice to record a new version of “Mi Guitarra” in the class became both a celebration of the achievement and a chance for the students to get a look under the hood at what was now officially one of the best songs of the year. This alternate version is a stripped-down take, produced by Jaczko, and features Nella taking full vocal duties. And for the instrument arrangement? It takes us back to where it all started: just Limón and his guitarra.
You can catch Nella in concert at the Crystal Ballroom in Somerville on December 4.
Watch a studio video of the new version of "Mi Guitarra":
Listen to the original, Latin Grammy–nominated song as it appears on Hombres de Fuego: