Calle 13 dominates Latin Grammy Awards
Puerto Rican alt-hip-hop duo Calle 13 swept all of its nominated categories Thursday at the 10th Annual Latin Grammy Awards. The act went five-for-five at the awards, which were held at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, and took home trophies for record and album of the year, winning the top prize for its politically charged third offering, "Los De Atrás Vienen Conmigo."
Accepting the record of the year trophy for "No Hay Nadie Como Tú," René Pérez, who raps as Residente, said from the stage, “This award, I have to dedicate to many people." He singled out socially conscious Argentine folk singer Mercedes Sosa, who died in October.
"We love her very much," said Pérez of Sosa, whose "Cantora 1" was named best folk album. "Her music will live forever."
Residente and stepbrother Eduardo José Cabra Martínez, who performs under the name Visitante, led all nominees heading into the Latin Grammys. The duo also took home best urban music album; best short-form music video for “La Perla," featuring Panamanian salsa singer Ruben Blades; and best alternative song for "No Hay Nadie Como Tú," a collaboration with Mexico City rockers Cafe Tacuba.
The night brings their Latin Grammy total to 10; they're also one-time Grammy award winners. The 2010 Grammy Awards will take place at L.A.'s Staples Center on Jan. 31.
Other notable winners included Laura Pausini, who took home best female pop vocal album for “Primavera Anticipada”; Vicente Fernández, who won best ranchero album for “Primera Fila"; Luis Enrique, who won best salsa album for “Ciclos”; and Wisin y Yandel, who left with best urban song for “Abusadora.”
Best alternative music album winners Los Amigos Invisibles were still walking the green carpet when their award was presented. “We thought they would give it to another band,” a band member joked backstage.But by the end, the show clearly belonged to Calle 13.
The pair -- who have emerged as a musical force over the course of three albums by blending politics, social issues and satire with an eclectic mix of hip-hop, samba, cumbia and other Latin American styles -- performed “La Perla” alongside Blades on the telecast.
Among the other musical highlights was a medley from traditional singer Pepe Aguilar. He transitioned from ballads “Me Vas a Extranar” and “Perdoname" into a Dia de los Muertos-themed cumbia performance of “La Cahaparrita."
Puerto Rican reggaeton duo Wisin y Yandel played on the Vegas atmosphere of the night with a casino-style stage, complete with cocktail servers, slot machines and blackjack tables, for a performance of “Medicina” and “Abusadora.”The audience rose to its feet during Alejandro Sanz’s performance. The Spanish pop singer was joined onstage by Grammy darling Alicia Keys, performing “Looking for Paradise" from his soon-to-be-released "Paraíso Express."
“Paradise is being able to be here tonight with Alejandro here at the Latin Grammys,” Keys said after their performance. Latin music is “the most electric. ... It’s so beautiful. It’s sensual, passionate, heartfelt, inspirational."The crowd only got rowdier after pop singer Enrique Iglesias presented Mexican icon Juan Gabriel -- dressed in ruffles and sequins -- with the 2009 Latin Recording Academy person of the year award.
Gabriel yelled “For Mexico!” before planting a kiss on the gold trophy. “I dedicate this to all of you [newcomers], with all my heart, that you will be more successful than I," he said.
The “divo of Juarez” later performed a mini-concert of his hits “El Principio,” “No Me Hagas Llorar” and “Hasta Que Te Conoci” to a cheering crowd. The singer/songwriter, who was honored at a black-tie dinner Wednesday, is said to have sold more than 100 million albums worldwide over his 30-year career.
“He was the first musician that I listened to when I arrived in Miami,” Iglesias said backstage. “For me, he is the most important Mexican artist.”
The awards were co-hosted by actor/comedian Eugenio Derbez and actress/singer Lucero, and aired in Spanish on Univision. The network has broadcast the awards since 2005 with English subtitles available on closed captioning.--Yvonne Villarreal, reporting from Las Vegas
Photo: Rene Perez (Residente) of Calle 13 performs on the Latin Grammy Awards. Credit: European Pressphoto Agency.