The big names were all out in force but the XIII Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards Thursday at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas was a celebration of the lesser known and the newcomers such as the pop rock duo Jesse & Joy, singer and songwriter Carla Morrison, and 3BallMTY (read Tribal Monterrey), a DJ-anchored group that created its own style they call tribal guarachoso.
Still the big winner last night was Latin music which had a glittery showcase for so much of its diversity and vitality.
Colombian singer and songwriter won Album of the Year and Best Long Form Music Video for MTV Unplugged, a work produced by Dominican singer, songwriter and producer Juan Luis Guerra. With it he has won 19 Latin GRAMMYs, now matching the success of Calle 13.
Guerra, a 12-time Latin GRAMMY winner, entered the night with six nominations and won two.
But still, it was the duo Jesse & Joy, which won Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Contemporary Pop Vocal Album and Best Short Form Music Video. The Mexican singer and songwriter Carla Morrison, who won for Best Alternative Music Album and Best Alternative Song, and 3BallMTY, which won as the Best New Artist, suggest a coming wave in Latin Music.
Moreover, the show left the audience with some striking images and powerful moments. Consider the marvelous imagery and sound of the collaboration of Lila Downs, Toto La Momposina and Celso Piña. Their performance offered a stunning tableaux that spoke to the richness and vitality of the traditions in Latin culture. This was no museum piece.
But there were also moments such as the duet of Prince Royce and Joan Sebastian, blending the sound of bachata and mariachi on their “Incondicional;” or Victor Manuelle’s “Si Tu Me Besas,” which featured the Ballet Nacional de la Salsa de Colombia, strings but also barriles de bomba from Puerto Rico. Or the performance by 2012 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year Brazilian singer and songwriter Caetano Veloso and trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, who last night added to his count with Latin GRAMMYs for albums of jazz and tango. Their collaboration on a medley of Rafael Hernandez’s “Capullito de Aleli,” and Veloso’s “Odara,” was itself a celebration of “Fina Estampa,” Veloso’s embrace of the Great Latin American Songbook.
And of course, there was also representation of classic pop and merengue, norteño and hip hop and more.
There were forty-seven Latin GRAMMYs awarded Thursday.
The great winner was Latin music.