Los Lobos, Willy Chirino & Valeria Lynch Among Latin Academy Special Award Winners

Rodrigo Varela/WireImage

Singer Willy Chirino attends the Univision Radio Remotes during the 14th annual Latin GRAMMY Awards at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on November 19, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Ney Matogrosso & Cesar Costa also feted at pre-Latin Grammys ceremony.

It was all about emotions and wives (yes, wives) during the Latin Recording Academy's annual special awards presentation on Wednesday (Nov. 19).

The ceremony -- which took place one day before the Latin Grammys at the MGM Grand's Hollywood Theater in Las Vegas -- honored iconic performers and executives for their contributions to Latin music and the Latin music industry.

"This is the most important recognition of my career," said Willy Chirino, the Cuban singer/songwriter who is known as much for his danceable salsa music as for his vocal calls for a free Cuba.

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Chirino was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award as a performer who has made "creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording" during his career. The honor was shared with Portuguese fado singer Carlos Do Carmo, Mexican rocker César Costa, Spain's Dúo Dinámico, Mexican American band Los Lobos, Argentine diva Valeria Lynch and Brazilian provocateur Ney Matogrosso.

The Trustees Award, which is presented to individuals who have made significant contributions, other than performance, to the field of recording, was given by vote to veteran executive André Midani, former VP of Warner Music International and former President of Warner Music Latin America, and to Venezuelan composer Juan Vicente Torrealba.

In accepting his award, Midani was one of several recipients who thanked their longtime spouses.

"With this trophy I can say to my wife, 'I told you, honey, one of these days I'll be trustworthy,'" he said, after recounting an exchange with a Mexican customs agent who deemed someone with his credentials could not be trusted.

Manuel de la Calva and Ramón Arcusa, members of Spain's Dúo Dinámico (Dynamic Duo) who were hugely popular in the 1960s, also thanked their wives, as did Los Lobos and Costa, the Mexican rock 'n' roll icon who has been married to wife Gilda for 45 years.

Chirino, who's been married to Cuban singer Lissette Alvarez for over 30 years, accepted the award from his wife and called her his best counselor.

"She's very critical in a good way," he said, noting that he runs all his recordings by her. "She listens carefully to all my music and tells me what she thinks, which isn't necessarily what I want to hear. And the next morning I wake up and realize she's right."

The Special Awards presentation has become one of the most poignant events of Latin Grammy week and a place to honor iconic personalities. The event was hosted by Latin Academy President/CEO Gabriel Abaroa and the Academy's board of trustees, whose vote determines the recipients of the awards.


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