Superstar Gloria Estefan was honored as the Latin Recording Academy’s Person of The Year at a star-studded gala dinner in Houston’s Convention Center.
Estefan, the first woman to receive the honor, spoke at the Nov. 12 event about music’s ability to touch and change people’s lives. “It’s such a powerful force,” she said.
Estefan’s musical achievements for over 30 years were celebrated with performances by a varied roster of acts — most personal friends — that included Carlos Santana, Patti LaBelle, John Legend, José Feliciano, Alexandre Pires, Gian Marco, Jon Secada, Luis Fonsi and Ednita Nazario. The musical accompaniment was by the Philharmonic of the Americas, conducted by Alondra de la Parra and The Miami Sound Machine, Estefan’s original band.
Newscaster María Elena Salinas and actor Andy García hosted the event, with Garcia also picking up the congas for a few solos.
Following a rousing, opening number by LaBelle, standouts of the evening included Gian Marco’s performance of “Mi Fotografía,” a song he wrote for Estefan’s album “Unwrapped.” Brazil’s Pires performed an acoustic version of “Santo,” which he recorded as a duet with Estefan, and Estefan herself took the stage for “No Llores” — “I still have to sing for my supper,” she joked — a single from her latest album, “90 Millas,” which she performed with Santana and Feliciano, who were both guests on the album.
Mexico’s Banda El Recodo performed earlier in the evening. Estefan’s daughter Emily also contributed to the evening with electric guitar and drum solos.