It was an emotional afternoon at the special awards presentation hosted by the Latin Recording Academy in Las Vegas yesterday, as a prelude to the Latin Grammy awards Nov. 8.

The Latin Academy presented trustees awards to people who have made significant contributions to the recording field, and also presented lifetime achievement awards for musical excellence to six artists.

Trustees awards went to Brazilian record executive Joao Araújo, Argentine bandoneonist Leopoldo Federico and to Fernando Hernández, president of Mexico's association of record producers, AMPROFON.

Araujo was celebrated for his 50-plus years in the industry, while producer Gustavo Santaolalla, accepting Federico's award, called him "the greatest bandeoneon player alive."

Hernández gave thanks for his honor, saying it represented the labor of "those of us who work behind the stars, who push for things to happen and to be profitable for the industry."

Lifetime achievement awards were presented to Argentine singer Alberto Cortez, Chilean singer Lucho Gatica; Cuban diva Olga Guillot; norteño icons Los Tigres del Norte; Brazilian rockers Os Paralamas do Sucesso; and legendary ranchera singer Chavela Vargas.

Cortez set the tone by reciting his emotional poem, "Qué Suerte He Tenido de Nacer" (How Lucky I've Been to Be Born), while Gatica gave thanks for "having had the good fortune of reaching the world with boleros."

Guillot spoke about how she and her friend, Gatica, had made people worldwide fall in love thanks to their songs.