By Fernando Mexia
LAS VEGAS – Puerto Rican hip hop and alt-reggaeton duo Calle 13 was the big winner at the 10th annual Latin Grammys in Las Vegas, sweeping all five nominated categories.
The reggaeton pair of Rene Perez and Eduardo Cabra – Calle 13 – made off with the prizes for Album of the Year and Best Urban Music Album for “Los de Atras Vienen Conmigo” (Those in the Back Come with Me), Record of the Year and Best Alternative Song for “No Hay Nadie Como Tu” (There’s No One Like You), and Best Short Form Music Video for “La Perla” (The Pearl) together with Ruben Blades.
Calle 13 now has nine Latin Grammys to its credit after the four it picked up in 2006 and 2007
Luis Fonsi, another Puerto Rican, took one of the most important golden gramophones – Song of the Year – for the lyrics to “Aqui Estoy Yo” (Here I Am), which he produced with David Bisbal, Aleks Syntek and Noel Schajris, while the prize for Best New Artist went to Alexander Acha, son of the Mexican artist Emmanuel.
One of the most moving moments at Thursday evening’s show at the Mandalay Bay Events Center was the awarding of the Latin Grammy for 2009 Person of the Year to Mexico’s Juan Gabriel, who took over the stage as the gala was winding up, and what was going to be three songs turned into a 30-minute concert that made the gala his own personal showcase.
One of Juan Gabriel’s admirers, singer Enrique Iglesias, told the press later that he was going to produce the disc in English and Spanish because he was tired of “separating the two languages.”
“I haven’t recorded the disc of my career yet and I hope this will be it,” Iglesias said.
Memories of the late Mercedes Sosa, who won the golden gramophone for Best Folk Album with “Cantora I” (Singer I), a disc that also took the prize for Best Recording Package, were very present at the gala, and Rene Perez of Calle 13 dedicated his Album of the Year prize to her.
Ruben Blades took the stage to pay tribute to Sosa, the “voice of America” as he called her, and to introduce a commemorative video with the song “Gracias a la Vida” (Thanks to Life) and pictures of the recently deceased Argentine artist.
The prizes in the categories of Best Female Pop Vocal Album and Best Male Pop Vocal Album went to Laura Pausini and Fito Paez for “Primavera Anticipada” (An Early Spring) and “No Se Si Es Baires o Madrid” (I Don’t Know if it’s Baires or Madrid), respectively, while Best Pop Album by a Duo/Group with Vocals was awarded to Reik for “Un Dia Mas” (One More Day).
In urban music, besides the success of Calle 13, the Puerto Ricans Wisin & Yandel together with Marcos “Tainy” Masis won a golden gramophone for Best Urban Song for the lyrics of “Abusadora” (Selfish Girl).
Rock had a Mexican flavor at the gala with two Latin Grammys going to the Jaguares band: Best Group Album for “45” and Best Song for “Entre Tus Jardines” (Among Your Gardens). Only Puerto Rico’s Draco Rosa broke Mexican dominance of the category by winning with “Teatro” (Theater) for Best Rock Solo Vocal Album.
Another artist to be honored was Nicaragua’s Luis Enrique, who won the Latin Grammy for Best Salsa Album for “Ciclos” (Cycles) and for Best Tropical Song for “Yo No Se Mañana” (I Don’t Know About Tomorrow) with lyrics by Jorge Luis Piloto and Jorge Villamizar.
Brazil’s Caetano Veloso won two Grammys, for Best Long Form Music Video and Best Singer-Songwriter Album for “Zii e Zie.’
A symbolic victory was scored by Cuba’s Omara Portuondo, awarded Best Contemporary Tropical Album for “Gracias” (Thanks), since she was the first artist from that country resident on the island to attend this ceremony and win a prize.
The 10th anniversary of the Grammys featured performances by Alejandro Sanz and U.S. artist Alicia Keys, who teamed up to perform “Looking for Paradise,” the theme song of the Spaniard’s next disc, “Paraiso Express” (Paradise Express).
Performing onstage were David Bisbal and the Mexican Luz Rios, Luis Fonsi, Calle 13 and Ruben Blades, and La Quinta Estacion. EFE