Guerra tops Latin Grammy haul

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By ALEX VEIGA

LAS VEGAS — You could say the hand was stacked in Juan Luis Guerra’s favor before the prolific singer-songwriter ever got to Sin City and came away with a jackpot of Latin Grammy trophies.

The Dominican superstar had a show-leading five nominations heading into the eighth annual Latin Grammy Awards on Thursday and won them all, including the most-coveted trifecta: album of the year, record of the year and song of the year.

The singer and his band, 440, also won trophies for best merengue album and tropical song for their album, ‘‘La Llave De Mi Corazon,’’ and its title track. ...


A master of songcraft known for taking traditional genres and making them his own, Guerra bested a roster of Latin music’s new order, including Ricky Martin, Shakira and reggaeton stars Calle 13.

That is no small feat at a time when reggaeton, pop and even alternative rock in Spanish are increasingly capturing favor with young fans of Latin music.

‘‘I have a lot of confidence in tropical music, the genres I work in — salsa, merengue and bachata,’’ Guerra told reporters backstage. ‘‘Merengue will never go out of style, nor will salsa or bachata, they are established genres.’’

For a while it looked as if Martin and Calle 13 might spoil Guerra’s chances. Each had four nominations going into the awards. Both picked up two trophies.

Guerra’s dominance took a backseat only to the onstage spectacle rolled out for the award show’s Las Vegas debut.

Martin opened the show with a rousing medley of ‘‘Lola’’ and ‘‘La Bomba,’’ while the Blue Man Group added its signature frenetic dance visuals. It was one of the show’s several mash-ups of nominees and Las Vegas Strip staples.

Later, reggaeton star Daddy Yankee performed ‘‘Ella Me Levanto,’’ flanked by scantily clad ‘‘Folies Bergere’’ showgirls in colorful feather headpieces.

Calle 13 and Cuban hip-hop group Orishas also got into the Vegas theme, taking the stage back-to-back with dancers of ‘‘HavanaNightShow’’ and drummers from the show ‘‘Stomp Out Loud.’’

Guerra edged out Miguel Bose, Calle 13, Martin and Alejandro Sanz for the album of the year prize. Among the artists he bested for his record of the year win were Martin and other superstars: Beyonce and Shakira, and Bose and Paulina Rubio.

Praise for ‘‘La Llave’’ also extended to its production, as the album garnered the award for best engineered album.

Guerra also was named the Latin Recording Academy’s person of the year in recognition of his career and personal achievements.

‘‘I want to dedicate this award to the Dominican Republic,’’ he said upon presented with the award. Guerra talked about Tropical Storm Noel, which recently thrashed the Caribbean nation and killed several dozen people.

‘‘In recent days, we’ve had some difficult moments ... But we are a strong and courageous people,’’ he said.

Backstage, Martin praised Guerra. ‘‘Juan Luis Guerra is ... the father of Latin American poetry and whoever thinks the contrary, well, get off the bus,’’ Martin said.

The Puerto Rican superstar took home the award for long form music video for ‘‘MTV Unplugged’’ and for male pop vocal album.

Fellow Puerto Rican Calle 13 picked up the trophy for urban music album for its politically charged ‘‘Residente o Visitante,’’ beating out Daddy Yankee, Orishas and Ivy Queen.

‘‘We are super thrilled, nervous, this has been a lot of pressure,’’ singer Rene Perez said. ‘‘To all of Mexico, Colombia, from the heart — to all Latinos: From here, no one will remove us.’’

‘‘Pal Norte,’’ on which the group highlights hardships faced by immigrants trying to enter the U.S. illegally, garnered the urban music song trophy, which recognized songwriting in the genre.

Jesse & Joy, siblings from Mexico who scored a hit this year with ‘‘Espacio Sideral’’ off their debut album, won the new artist trophy. The pair beat out several newcomers, including pop singer Alejandra Alberti and Cuban drummer Dafnis Prieto.

Among the other winners, Italian singer Laura Pausini won the trophy in the female pop vocal album category for ‘‘Yo Canto,’’ while Michael Salgado won the Norteno album trophy for ‘‘En Vivo.’’

Before the nationalized televised portion of the show, when many of the Latin Recording Academy’s 48 trophies were awarded, Venezuelan vocal group Voz Veis landed two Latin Grammys — becoming the first group from its nation to be honored.

Voz Veis took home the awards for short form music video for ‘‘Ven A Mi Casa Esta Navidad,’’ and Latin children’s album for ‘‘Como Se Llega A Belen,’’ a collection of Christmas songs.

‘‘This is an important moment,’’ group member Santiago Castillo said after receiving the first Grammy.

Brazil’s Caetano Veloso also picked up two trophies during the preshow. He won in the Brazilian song category for ‘‘Nao Me Arrependo,’’ and for best singer-songwriter album for ‘‘Ce.’’

Sebastian Krys, who has worked with the likes of Obie Bermudez, Rabanes and Daniela Guzman, won the producer of the year award.

The show was held at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on the Las Vegas Strip. It was broadcast from New York last year and has previously bounced between Miami and Los Angeles.


AP

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on November 9, 2007 7:57 AM.

Patty Griffin wins album, artist of the year at Americana Music awards was the previous entry in this blog.

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