Calle 13 is big winner at Latin Grammys with 9 wins
Puerto Rican alt-hip-hop duo Calle 13 reigned supreme at this year’s Latin Grammy Awards, taking home nine trophies, including the top award for album of the year, for the anti-establishment album “Entren Los Que Quieran.”
The stepbrothers -- René Pérez, who calls himself Residente, and Eduardo Cabra, a.k.a. Visitante -- were honored for urban music album (an achievement that came “without being played on the radio,” as Residente noted). Earlier they won for alternative song and best short form video (“Calma Pueblo”), tropical song (“Vamo' A Portarnos Mal”), and producer of the year.
Going into the night, they led all contenders with 10 nominations. Winners of two Grammy Awards, their nine wins Thursday night mark a Latin Grammy record, surpassing the previous record of five they held with Juanes and Juan Luis Guerra.
And their stately presence was felt from the start. The duo opened the show performing “Latinoamérica” and were accompanied by the Orquesta Sinfonica Simon Bolivar, a youth orchestra from Venezuela, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, current music director and principal conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. (Dudamel would later present the duo with the award for album of the year).
Latin music’s biggest night, now in its 12th year, was televised from the Mandalay Bay Hotel theater in Las Vegas on Spanish-language network Univision and was hosted by Mexican singer/actress Lucero and Chilean American actor Cristián De La Fuente. The night celebrated artists of various musical genres from throughout North, Central and South America and the Caribbean, as well as Spain. Most of the 49 Latin Grammy awards -- including top albums in Christian, Latin jazz and flamenco -- were handed out during a preshow ceremony.
Among the other winners were: Rubén Blades y Seis Del Solar in the salsa album category for “Todos Vuelven Live.” Trio Alex, Jorge y Lena (which consists of multi-instrumentalists Alex Ubago, Jorge Villamizar and Lena Burke) won for pop album by a duo or group with vocal. And Puerto Rican singer Sie7e (otherwise known as David Rodriguez), who put out the 2011 album “Mucha Cosa Buena,” was honored in the new artist category.
Meanwhile, Shakira, who won for female pop vocal, was honored as the 2011 Latin Recording Academy person of the year. She referred to the honor as “one of the most important moments in my life and the most important recognition I've received.”
The international pop star was also among the wide slate of performers during Thursday’s telecast -- in fact, she performed twice. Others included Pepe Aguilar, Maná, and Marco Antonio Solís. And showing the cross-cultural and widening appeal of artists: Pitbull and Marc Anthony performed their hit Eurodance single “Rain Over Me”; Romeo Santos performed “Promises” with R&B artist Usher; Sie7e performed a ska-inflected “Yo Tengo Tu Love” with Taboo (a member of Black Eyed Peas); Puerto Rican reggaeton duo Wisin y Yandel brought on Jamaican American singer Sean Kingston; and singer/actress Demi Lovato also performed. Topping things off, Kermit the Frog made a guest appearance.
-- Yvonne Villarreal and Reed Johnson
Photo: Rene Perez Joglar, also known as Residente, of Calle 13, performs at the 12th annual Latin Grammy Awards on Thursday in Las Vegas. Credit: Julie Jacobson / Associated Press