In a year when the music industry's top awards categories have a lackluster list of nominees, Monitor pop-music writer Amy Duncan has selected some personal favorites from other areas:

Living Colour's ``Cult of Personality.'' Nominated for Best Hard-Rock Performance. The New York-based black rock group's hard-edged, gutsy playing and smart lyrics have finally won them notice after some lengthy dues-paying.

Anita O'Day's ``In a Mellow Tone.'' Nominated for Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Female. The 70-year-old singer, who has never won a Grammy, finally gets a crack at one with her latest album.

``Ritmo en el Coraz'on'' (``Rhythm in the Heart''). Nominated for Best Tropical Latin Performance. Featuring Ray Barretto's salsa band, with Cuban national treasure Celia Cruz on vocals, this is the hottest Latin album of the year.

The Bulgarian State Female Vocal Choir's ``Le Myster`e des Voix Bulgares, Vol II.'' Nominated for Best Traditional Folk Recording. One of the Grammys' few nods to world music.

Bunny Wailer's ``Liberation.'' Nominated for Best Reggae Recording. Something fresh, from out of the reggae mainstream.

David Bowie's ``Sound + Vision.'' Nominated for Best Album Package. A beautifully presented reissue of Bowie's recording career to date, with some previously unreleased material.

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