Spanish pop singer Miguel Bosé and Academy Award-winning director Fernando Trueba are among those supporting a proposal to honor Cuban pianist Bebo Valdés with Spain’s prestigious Prince of Asturias Award For the Arts. Past music winners include Bob Dylan, as well as native son Paco de Lucia. The campaign for Valdés’ nomination for the prize is spearheaded by the Barcelona-based Internet radio portal, gladyspalmera.com, whose popular streaming channels and blogs focus on tropical Latin music.
Valdés, who was the house pianist at Havana’s Tropicana nightclub before going into exile and moving to Sweden in the 1960s, began a spectacular comeback in his 70s that resulted in nine Grammy and Latin Grammy Award wins. Now 93 and retired at his home,Valdés was last heard on the soundtrack of the 2012 Academy-award nominated animated movie “Chico y Rita”, directed by Trueba and partially based on Valdes’ life story.
Gladyspalmera.com founder Alejandra Fierro Eleta and the site’s programmers call Valdés “the greatest Cuban musician alive,” adding that the Prince of Asturias Prize would honor the “universal transcendence” of Cuban music.
The Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts is given to artists whose work “constitutes a significant contribution to Mankind’s culture heritage.” The 2012 awards will be presented in October. For more information on the campaign for Bebo Valdés, go here.