LAS VEGAS -- A slew of artists from different countries -- including Brazil's Gal Costa, Colombia's Joe Arroyo and Puerto Rico's José Feliciano -- were honored by the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences with Lifetime Achievement Awards at a morning ceremony Nov. 9, a day before the Latin Grammys.
It was a spirited ceremony, celebrating artists who have made "exceptional contributions to recorded music during their careers," according to Christian star and Latin Academy trustee Marcos Witt, who hosted the event.
Also doled out were the Trustees Awards, honoring "individuals who have made significant contributions, other than performance, to the field of recording during their careers." This year's honorees were songwriter, composer and producer Manuel Alejandro; Mexican arranger and musician Jesus "Chucho" Ferrer; and composer, performer and arranger Ray Santos.
Among those in attendance was guitarist Carlos Santana, who joined trustee Mary Black (who produced Billboard's Mexican Music Awards for Telemundo) to present Feliciano's award, referring to his music as "whipped cream."
"I remember the first time I saw him," said Santana. "He plays the guitar with such ease, he has a gift from God. He has Puerto Rican flavor but his roots are in Africa."
"I consider Carlos my spiritual guru," said Feliciano, accepting the award. "I try to learn from his humility."
Les Luthier, the legendary music/comedic troupe from Argentina that performs on instruments of their own making, received their award from producer Sebastian Krys and indie label executive Laura Tesoreiro, who are both trustees and from Argentina.
Also receiving awards was Mexican rocker Alex Lora, leader of veteran rock group El Tri, who provided a touch of color to the event.
"On behalf for all Spanish speaking rock'n'rollers, it's an honor to get this award," said Lora, who took advantage of the moment to display his new CD, recorded in a women's prison. "I started rocking 43 years ago and people would say, 'Dude, don't you know rock'n'roll isn't in Spanish? And as a pioneer, it makes me happy to see that this grows every day, and every there are more proposals, styles and groups."
The final awards of the morning were given to Uruguayan percussionist Rubén Rada and to Linda Ronstadt, who received her Gramophone from NARAS president/CEO Neil Portnow, a self-proclaimed fan of the Mexican-American singer.