Latin Grammys: Natalia LaFourcade & Juan Luis Guerra Win Big; Mana & Los Tigres Get Political
And yes, Colombia had a very notable place in these Latin Grammys. In what was most definitely a surprise win, young, quirky Colombian trio Monsieur Periné, whose music is at times reminiscent of Postmodern Jukebox, won best new artist, despite the fact that their music is very little known here.
Another young Colombian trio, Diamante Eléctrico, won best rock album. J Balvin won best urban song for “Ay vamos” and Nicky Jam, an adopted Colombian of sorts, won best urban performance with Enrique Iglesias for “El perdón.”
Most of the 48 awards of the evening were doled out at the pre-telecast, billed this year as the “Premiere Awards,” which took place at the KA Theater in the MGM Grand.
Beside Guerra and LaFourcade, who collected early awards, Mexican star Pedro Fernandez won best ranchero album for Acaríciame el corazón, and exhorted the small audience to show their appreciation. “I want to hear that applause. It’s not easy to make an album!” he shouted good-naturedly, although much applause was spontaneously given to Colombian trio ChocQuibTown, who won best tropical fusion album for El Mismo. “We come from a very small place,” said member Tostao, referring to their impoverished home state of Chocó. “We work very hard to make our dreams come true.”
Other early winners included the videos for Calle 13's "Ojos Color Sol" -- which features Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal -- and Juanes' "Loco de Amor, La Historia," which won best short form video and best long from video, respectively. Both were coincidentally directed by Puerto Rico’s Kacho Lopez and produced by Tristiana Lopez.
Alex Cuba won for best singer/songwriter album for Healer and veteran Ruben Blades, who, with Roberto Delgado & Orchestra, won best salsa album for his independently produced and released Son de Panamá.
Cuba was also present in the Best traditional tropical album, Tributo a los compadres, no quiero llanto, by Dominican sonero Jose Alberto “El Canario” with Septeto Santiaguero. The set was recorded at Egrem’s studios in Havana.
Best rock album went to Colombian trio Diamante Eléctrico for their independently-produced B.
There were tears of joy; Alex Cuba cried when he dedicated his win to his wife Sara, who has a song bearing her name in the album. And there were also moments of sadness.
Sebastian Krys, who won Producer of the year for his work with multiple acts, including Alejandro Sanz’s multi-nominated album Sirope, dedicated his award to beloved Latin producer, songwriter and engineer Balta Hinojosa, who died last year of leukemia.
“We are all very fortunate to be here, doing what we do,” said Krys, accepting the award.