The Latin Recording Academy on Wednesday (Nov. 16) celebrated the fruitful careers of eight artists from diverse genres and nationalities who have left a deep mark on Latin music.
Rosario Flores from Spain, Myriam Hernández from Chile, Rita Lee from Brazil, Amanda Miguel from Argentina and Yordano from Venezuela received the Lifetime Achievement Award, given to performers who have made contributions of outstanding artistic value to Latin music and their communities. While Spanish musician and executive Manolo Díaz, Cuban jazz player Paquito D’Rivera and Mexican bassist Abraham Laboriel received the Trustees Award, which recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Latin music, though not necessarily in an interpretive capacity. (D’Rivera and Laboriel, for example, are renowned instrumentalists).
“These are industry professionals who, with their work and life example, forge the true meaning of the word excellence,” said Manuel Abud, CEO of the Latin Recording Academy, as he opened the ceremony in Las Vegas. “This is one of those events that fills you with very special pride, because this award celebrates not a song or a specific achievement, but a great journey, a life journey that we know and remember forever.”
There was laughter — mainly courtesy of D’Rivera — and also tears from the honorees and the audience. The emotional ceremony was hosted by salsa singer Víctor Manuelle and included artists such as Fito Páez, Carlos Vives, Cami, Ana Victoria, Ricardo Montaner and Sebastián Yatra as presenters. The only one missing was the Brazilian star Rita Lee, who sent word that she was “happy as a partridge,” according to Giulia Be, who presented her award.
The event preceded the 2022 Latin Grammy Awards, which take place on Thursday (November 17) at the Michelob Ultra Arena at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The show will be broadcast live on Univision at 8 p.m. (Eastern Time) and will also be available on HBO Max.
Here are the five best quotes from the Latin Grammys Special Awards honorees:
Amanda Miguel, on finding peace after the passing of her husband, singer-songwriter Diego Verdaguer: “This is an award that gives me peace and fulfillment and the love that music returns to you. Music is that, it is God. It is the way to express ourselves without speaking, but with such beautiful, distinguished sounds. I thank God for making me a musician, a singer, a composer, for having given me that pleasure. Eternal thanks to all the people who made me who I am, because I did not do it alone — first and foremost my husband, Diego Verdaguer […] I share this with him because he was the creator, he was my biggest fan.”
Myriam Hernández, on the recent wave of female singer-songwriters hailing from Chile: “I come from a wonderful country, Chile, where making it in the music industry was very difficult for us. […] But today I see with great optimism and joy that there are many women from my country who are in music and I hope that one day they too will achieve this recognition that I am receiving today. I thank my country for having supported me, and above all, I thank God for giving us this gift.”
Paquito D’Rivera, on his idol Benny Goodman and the “carne y frijol” (meat and beans): “I remember one day my father, who was a saxophonist, came home with a Benny Goodman record and I asked him ‘What is that!?’ I fell in love with that music. He told me: ‘That’s swing, that’s jazz, and that’s New York, and that’s Carnegie Hall’. When he said Carnegie Hall, I understood ‘carne y frijol’ (meat and beans). […] Well, the point is that many years later I celebrated my 50th anniversary in music at the ‘carne y frijol’, the Carnegie Hall. And I remember once when Benny Goodman, who was my idol, was awarded a statuette like this one, he said something I could never forget: ‘It’s incredible to me that they’re giving me such an important award just for doing the only activity that I really enjoy doing’. Thank you […] for helping me to do the only thing that really interests me in life: playing music for you.”
Rosario Flores, on growing up in a family of artists: “For me today is an exceptional day because today I receive the award for my art, for my dedication since I was born. To my inspiration. To the energy of my mother (Lola Flores) […] of my brother Antonio and my sister Lolita. I take all of them with me, and because of them I am an artist, because they were all artists and they taught me what art was. I have many angels with me that are them. I honor art with every pore of my skin.”
Yordano, on singing what is hard for him to say: “I was a big stutterer when I was a kid. During my childhood and adolescence it was difficult for me to speak, and that was terrible because I would fall in love and it would become even worse. Every summer we would go to the beach and every summer I would fall madly in love, since I was 12 years old. I suffered a lot. I think that, thanks to that accumulated suffering, I managed to create many love songs.”