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Almas boast eclectic music taste

Honorees range from rap to country

Where else but the Alma Awards would David Archuleta, Lynda Carter and Black Eyed Peas rapper Taboo be nominated in the same category? They are all part of this year’s eclectic mix of music honorees.

Archuleta, the Miami-born son of a Honduran singer, is one of two rising star honorees — the other is R&B singer Kat DeLuna, born in New York to Dominican parents. After finishing second last year on “American Idol,” Archuleta has sold close to a million copies of his self-titled debut album. DeLuna’s debut “9 Lives” earned a Latin Billboard award, and she is currently working on a follow-up.

Enrique Iglesias and Christina Aguilera are well-established pop singers in both Spanish and English. The son of Spanish crooner Julio Iglesias, Enrique was named bestselling Latin performer at last year’s World Music Awards and won the 2008 American Music Award as favorite Latin artist. Aguilera marked her 10 years in music last year with the release of a hits compilation, and her fourth studio album is expected later this year.

Pitbull, a Miami rap sensation who often references his Cuban heritage in his party anthems, is currently on tour promoting “Rebelution.”

Most people would not readily identify some of the honorees as Latino artists. R&B singer Maxwell, who returned to the music scene this year with the highly praised “BLACKsummers’night,” was born in New York but his family hails from Puerto Rico and the West Indies. Fergie and will.i.am are the best-known members of the Black Eyed Peas, but rapper Taboo was born Jaime Luis Gomez in East Los Angeles.

Carter is less known for her music than her acting, but this year’s release of “At Last,” a collection of standards, marked her return to her first love. “My love of music began at my Mexican grandma’s house in Arizona,” Carter recalls. “I have such wonderful childhood memories of tortillas coming off the flat pan, chiles roasting. Then the guitars would come out, and the singing would begin.”

Regarding the Almas, the singer-actress says, “This honor is especially meaningful to me given the tremendous pride I have in my Latin roots.”