A cadre of veteran acts and ambassadors of Latin culture received Lifetime Achievement Awards and Trustees Awards from the Latin Recording Academy during a ceremony held Nov. 4.

“It took me nine months to be born and it’s taken me 88 years to receive this award,” said an emotional Candido Camero as he received one of six Lifetime Achievement Awards that were given in the late morning ceremony at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas. Camero, the Cuban conguero who’s performed and recorded with some of the biggest names in Latin music, then added: “I walk like an 88 year old. But when I play the congas—look out! I’m like a 20 year old!”

Camero wasn’t the only emotional performer to receive an award for lifetime achievement. Marco Antonio Muñiz, recognized as one of Latin music’s most beautiful voices, called himself “only a troubadour, an interpreter who has recorded the most wonderful composers of the Spanish language. I will continue to sing to love and women for many years,” he said.

Also receiving awards were Christian singer and composer Juan Romero, who delivered an impassioned speech, and Tania Libertad, who dedicated her Lifetime Achievement Grammy to Chabuca La Grande and the late Mercedes Sosa, who is nominated for several Latin Grammy awards. Sosa’s name came up several times during the awards, including a very short acceptance speech by Argentine rock icon Charly Garcia, who limited himself to thanking the many musicians who have played with him over the years and dedicated his award to Sosa and to “all the young musicians who still make rock ‘n roll a humanitarian and special endeavor.”

Garcia’s award was presented by Recording Academy president Neil Portnow and by producer/composer Gustavo Santaolalla, who introduced him in an emotional speech as "my friend of many, many years.” Santaolalla, who is in the midst of a world tour with his group, Bajofondo Tango Club, called Garcia “[a] genius, funny, dangerous, sharp, savage, fragile, absurd, sane, brilliant, he possesses and has survived all the contradictions that make a true rock ‘n roll star.”

Trustees awards were given to legendary Mexican composer Roberto Cantoral, who is also chairman of the board of SACM (Mexico’s Society of Authors and Composers) and to Jose Antonio Abreu, the founder of Venezuela’s El Sistema, the nationwide music education system that’s produced luminaries like Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel.

Abreu spoke about the importance of providing free musical education to thousands of children who are in “street” conditions, including those who are incarcerated.

“Physical poverty can be beaten by musical wealth,” he said.