It doesn’t come as a surprise that one of the most moving moments of the Latin GRAMMY’s 2014 Lifetime Achievement Awards ceremony had everything to do with the beauty of a classic song. While receiving their Lifetime Achievement Award, the two members of Spain’s legendary Dúo Dinámico, Ramon de la Calva and Ramón Arcusa, broke into song, harmonizing to perfection, improvising the chorus of their timeless hit “Quince Años Tiene Mi Amor” (“15 Years Old Is My Love”) – an obvious reference to 15 year anniversary of the Latin GRAMMYs.
This year, the Special Awards offered an invitation to reflect on the richness and variety of Latin music. The event which takes place in the morning, is deeply emotional and allows The Latin Recording Academy® the opportunity to pay tribute in person to an eclectic gallery of artists who, each in his own way, changed the face of popular music.
Mexican rock pioneer César Costa spoke of his “extended and beautiful romance with his fans.” Speaking with the same bubbly bravado that defines her singing, Argentina’s Valeria Lynch delivered a declaration of principles: “Everything related to my career, I tackled with passion.” And Los Lobos, giants of Chicano rock, godfathers of the tasty fusion between authentic Mexican folklore and raw rock’n’roll, thanked their families, accepting the award with their trademark, humble demeanor.
The recipients also recognized the importance of the artists who shaped them. Cuban salsa singer/songwriter Willy Chirino, creator of the Miami sound that blended tropical stylings with pop seduction, mentioned such genre greats as Beny Moré, Celia Cruz, Tito Puente and The Beatles, taking the time to thank “everyone who dances to my songs,” as well as his wife Lisette. “We’ve been married for 34 years, but considering our industry standards, it’s more like 100,” he said, evoking a roar of laughter, “She’s my best advisor, very critical but in the best sense of the word.”
Carlos Do Carmo – one of the most exquisite singers of fado, Portugal’s quintessential song format which literally translated means destiny – spoke of his homeland, which was recognized for the first time in these Special Awards. “I was born in a country that’s ancient and beautiful, with very specific traits. My people love to sing, and you need a deep sense of passion if you want to sing fado.”
Ney Matogrosso also got his turn. Rebellious, provocative and blessed with limitless creative imagination, he is a one-of-a-kind artist. “I’m fully conscious of the importance of this award,” said this glam-rock pioneer and veteran of Brazilian music. “Never, not even in my wildest dreams, did I imagine that one day I would receive a recognition like this one.”
Sadly, Venezuela’s Juan Vicente Torrealba was unable to receive the Trustee Award in person. But Brazilian record executive André Midani was present, delighting the audience with a story that took place in Mexico, when an immigration clerk looked at his documents – Midani born in Siria, living in Brazil, arriving to Mexico from Colombia – when the clerk told him that he was not “a person who inspired confidence.” Holding his award and addressing his wife, Midani concluded the story exclaiming: “I told you, my love, that one day I would inspire confidence.”
The final photo, picturing all winners sitting side by side in a wide horizontal line, was filled with smiles and spontaneous conversation. Even though receiving awards has become a matter of routine to these legends, you could feel there on this particular event, there was magic in the air.