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The Biggest Night in Latin Music


The 14th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards: Personal triumphs, great music and an exceptional show.

Numbers can say only so much. At the 14th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards held at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas Thursday, the number of statuettes certainly didn’t tell the whole story. It was not an evening defined by a particular, dominant winner. Instead it was an event marked by powerful personal stories, stories of redemption, survival and persistence.

It was about Colombian singer and songwriter Carlos Vives, once an artist with seemingly endless possibilities who faded only to reappear in triumph on Thursday, winning three Latin GRAMMYs (Best Tropical Song, Song of the Year, Best Tropical Fusion).

 “This is more than what we hoped at our return,” said Vives, visibly moved.

It was about Draco Rosa, a survivor of a life-threatening illness, offering stunning performance with his long time friend and collaborator Ricky Martin and then winning Album of the Year with the fittingly titled Vida.

It was also about Guatemalan singer and composer Gaby Moreno who, after years of work and much persistence, emerged winning the prized Best New Artist category.

Other big winners Thursday were producer Sergio George, who had a terrific night, sharing with Marc Anthony the Record of the Year but winning also as Producer of the Year and Best Salsa Album categories. Meanwhile Mexican singer and songwriter Natalia Lafourcade and the Bajofondo group won two Latin GRAMMYs each.

As far as the show, it had many notable moments including the performance by Alejandro Sanz, who won Best Contemporary Vocal Pop Album with La Música No Se Toca. He sang the title track with his band augmented by 30 Berklee College of Music students, young musicians whose participation emphasized the meaning of the song, a celebration of the staying power of music.

The program was also instructive on the breadth and variety of Latin music.

Consider the contrast between the production number -- part street jam, part dance club -- featuring Pitbull, with El Cata and Enrique Iglesias, performing “Echa Pa’lla”, “Cotorra y Voliu” and “I Like it”, and the acoustic set by Lafourcade, seated with an acoustic guitar, singing Agustin Lara’s “María Bonita;” followed by Peruvian singer songwriter Gian Marco, interpreting the Chabuca Granda’s classic “La Flor de La Canela”.

Or perhaps the contrast between Natalie Cole singing “Acercate Más” in virtual duet with her late father, the great Nat King Cole, projected on a screen behind her, and the lively street force of la Banda Carnaval featuring Calibre 50 singing “Gente Batallosa” that immediately followed.

The Award ceremony also included a segment dedicated to Miguel Bosé, who on Wednesday night was feted as the 2013 Person of the Year of the Latin Recording Academy.

Bosé was featured on the show in an original medley of duets (echoes of Papito and Papitwo) singing with Laura Pausini (“Te Amaré”); Juanes, his friend and partner in the foundation Paz Sin Fronteras (“Nada Particular”), and then with Ricky Martin (“Bambú”), concluding with his solo performance of “Amante Bandido”.

Just like in this 14th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards the number of statuettes didn’t fully tell the story, counting hits does not quite give the true measure of Bosé. His story also transcends numbers.

For the complete list of winners, videos and exclusive images check latingrammy.com

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