One of WEA Latina’s budding superstars, the 33-year-old Spaniard Alejandro Sanz took home the three big awards at the third annual Latin Grammy Awards ceremony held Wednesday at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.
Sanz nabbed the song and record of the year honors for “Y Solo Se Me Ocurre Amarte,” a track from his WEA Latina disc “MTV Unplugged.” “Unplugged” was named album of the year.
Carlos Vives, who was nominated for six awards, took home two prior to his lively song and dance with shimmying girls and child drummers. He won contemporary tropical album for “Deajme Entrar” and tropical song for the album’s title track. Celia Cruz, also up for six awards, won for salsa album.
The veteran act of the night was Mexico’s king of the rancheros, Vicente Fernandez. The Latin Academy had named Fernandez as its man of the year and made his performance with his son Alejandro the centerpiece of the two-hour kudoscast before honoring him with the trophy for ranchero album.
Fernandez has been recording since 1965 and the Tuesday night dinner in his honor was seen by some in the Latin music industry as payback for what had been seen as a pro-Miami favoritism in the academy.
After opening with Marc Anthony singing “Celos,” telecast was an inclusive affair with nearly every winner delivering their acceptance speech in Spanish and telecast producers doing little to explain the various styles of music being honored. “For you folks in Wisconsin,” presenter Paul Rodriguez half-joked in offering a pinch of guidance, “is an oom-pah-pah band on tequila.”
“If this show succeeds,” Rodriguez said backstage, “it will succeed because non-Latinos are watching it. The producers should subtitle some of the lesser-known categories like ranchero and explain who these people are for (the non-Latinos) who want to know what the hell this music is.”
CBS chose to go with name and face recognition, parading onstage TV (Jennifer Love Hewitt) and pop stars (Justin Timberlake) with no Latin roots as presenters. Non-nominees were also used throughout the show as performers: last year’s big winner, Juanes, who took home this year’s rock song statue, appeared with Canadian singer Nelly Furtado; Carlos Santana, who has a new album, “Shaman,” due this fall, played the English-lingo tune “America” with heavy metal act P.O.D. Shakira, who won for video, but whose her latest album is ineligible because it’s in English, made a weak choice with the midtempo “Que Me Quedes Tu” and cliched hard-rock stage movements.
The show did manage to demonstrate the variety of hit music in the Latin world, even offering the usually overlooked Brazilians in a televised perf. While Sanz delivered an affecting perf of the ballad “Lo Dire Bajito,” show didn’t explore the crossover phenomenon the way the first edition did.
Jorge Moreno, signed to Maverick Musica and pegged for ascension in the U.S. pop ranks, was named best new artist as his debut album is just beginning to be distributed overseas. A natural for crossover, Moreno says he will “not do it in a cheesy way. I’ll do it in my own style. It has to be a part of a natural process.”
Many of the winners, though, are known only in Spanish-speaking countries and Hispanic communities in the U.S. The so-called Latin invasion has meant Latino artists singing in English — presenter Laura Pausini was on hand, to some degree, because she has an English album due Nov. 5 — but for some the revolution will not be translated.
“That’s my culture, that’s my language. The crossover will be in Spanish,” said a defiant Alejandra Guzman, who worked with a slew of U.S. hard rock heavyweights on her Latin Grammy winner “Soy.”
Plenty of winners do have a considerable U.S. presence. Among them: Chile’s La Ley for rock album by a duo or group (“MTV Unplugged”); Peruvian singer Susanna Baca for folk album (“Lamento Negro”); Dori Caymmi for Brazilian song (“Saudade de Amor”); Nonesuch Records artists Sergio and Odair Assad for tango album (“Sergio & Adair Assad Play Piazzolla”); and Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba for Latin jazz album (“Supernova”). TV show host Xuxa won the children’s album award for “Xuca So Para Baixinhos Vol. 2.”
Bebo Valdes, who won for traditional tropical album, and pop instrumental album winner, pianist Chuco Valdes, were among the nine Cuban artists who were denied visas to attend the show.
The regional nature of the musical styles was clear in a host of ways. The small Texas-based Freddie Records won three of the six regional Mexican awards; when El Grupo Mazz won the tejano trophy, for example, they thanked the people of Brownsville, Texas.
Telecast was hosted by Gloria Estefan and Jimmy Smits; Jon Secada hosted the pre-telecast during which 32 awards were handed out.
To be eligible, an album had to be released between April 1, 2001 and March 31, 2002 and at least 51% of the singing must be in Spanish or Portugese.
The Latin Academy has 4,000 members in 27 countries.
RECORD OF THE YEAR
“Y Solo Se Me Ocurre Amarte,”‘ Alejandro Sanz
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
“MTV Unplugged,” Alejandro Sanz
SONG OF THE YEAR
“Y Solo Se Me Ocurre Amarte,” Alejandro Sanz (Alejandro Sanz)
“A Dios Le Pido,” Juanes (Juanes)
FEMALE ROCK VOCAL ALBUM; ROCK SOLO VOCAL ALBUM
“Soy,” Alejandra Guzman
FEMALE POP VOCAL ALBUM
“Muchas Flores,” Rosario
MALE POP VOCAL ALBUM
“Sereno,” Miguel Bose
“La Negra Tiene Tumbao,” Celia Cruz
“Sin Bandera,” Sin Bandera
POP INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM
“Canciones Ineditas,” Chucho Valdes
“MTV Unplugged,” La Ley
“Mas Con el Numero Uno,” Vicente Fernandez
“Puras Rancheras Con Cuisillos,” Banda Cuisillos
“Vivo,” Vico C
“Yo Por Ti,” Olga Tanon
CONTEMPORARY TROPICAL ALBUM
“Dejame Entrar,” Carlos Vives
TRADITIONAL TROPICAL ALBUM
“El Arte Del Sabor,” Bebo Valdes Trio With Israel Lopez “Cachao” and Carlos “Patato” Valdes
“Lo Dijo El Corazon,” Joan Sebastian
“Siempre Humilde,” Jimmy Gonzalez y El Grupo Mazz
“El Numero Cien,” Ramon Ayala y Sus Bravos Del Norte
“Lamento Negro,” Susana Baca
“Sergio & Odair Assad Play Piazzolla,” Sergio & Odair Assad
“Mis 70 Anos Con El Cante,” Antonio Nunez “El Chocolate”
LATIN JAZZ ALBUM
“Supernova,” Gonzalo Rubalcaba Trio
“Paz — Ao Vivo,” Padre Marcelo Rossi
BRAZILIAN ROCK ALBUM
“Acustico MTV,” Cassia Eller
BRAZILIAN CONTEMPORARY POP ALBUM
“Falange Canibal,” Lenine
“Deixa a Vida Me Levar,” Zeca Pagodinho
MPB (MUSICA POPULAR BRASILEIRA) ALBUM
“Cambaio,” Chico Buarque & Edu Lobo
“Acustico — Ao Vivo,” Bruno & Marrone
BRAZILIAN ROOTS/REGIONAL ALBUM
“Sao Joao Vivo,” Gilberto Gil
LATIN CHILDREN’S ALBUM
“Xuxa So Para Baixinhos Vol. 2,” Xuxa
“Adios Nonino — Quarteto Amazonia Toca Astor Piazzolla,” Quarteto Amazonia
“Alexandre Pires,” (Alexandre Pires)
“Dejame Entrar,” Andres Castro, Martin Madera and Carlos Vives (Carlos Vives)
REGIONAL MEXICAN SONG
“Del Otro Lado Del Porton,” Freddie Martinez (Ramon Ayala y Sus Bravos Del Norte)
BRAZILIAN SONG (PORTUGUESE LANGUAGE)
“Saudade De Amar,” Dori Caymmi and Paulo Cesar Pinheiro (Nana Caymmi)
“Suerte,” Shakira; Francis Lawrence, video director; Tim Kerrison, video producer
PRODUCER OF THE YEAR
Kike Santander, “Azul” (Cristian)