The announcement was made today (Sept. 24)by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. The husband-and-wife team represent the first couple as well as the first musicians-songwriters of Hispanic descent to receive the honor.
The Estefans’ hit songs include “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You,” “Conga,” “Get On Your Feet” and “Turn the Beat Around,” among other staples of the 1980s and beyond.
Reads a statement from the Library of Congress: “The Estefans symbolize the rich cultural diversity of the American musical experience. They are musical auteurs, creating a unique sound of Latin rhythms that transcends cultural boundaries, parlaying their creative genius into entrepreneurship and community activism, and propelling the careers of many of today’s Latino artists to stardom. During their more than 30-year career, they have built a musical empire and made listening to Cuban-infused music one of America’s favorite pastimes.”
Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Carole King, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson along with the songwriting duo of Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David have also received the prize.
The prize is awarded in November and with a series of events in Washington, D.C. The lifetime achievement award is given to a living musician who enhances cultural understanding and inspires new generations through music.