Music » Awards Celebrate a City Pulsing With Latin Sounds

Shakira and Alejandro Sanz
Surprising no one, Shakira was the big winner at the seventh annual Latin Grammy Awards, taking home four statues during the ceremony at Madison Square Garden.

The Colombian pop star won song and record of the year awards for “La Tortura,” a duet with Spaniard Alejandro Sanz. She also received trophies for female pop vocal album and album of the year for her Spanish-language “Fijacion Oral, Vol. 1.”

Shakira and Alejandro Sanz performed “La Tortura” at the seventh annual Latin Grammy Awards Thursday night at Madison Square Garden

“Fijacion Oral” also was named best engineered album, collecting honors for Vlado Meller and his team.

Shakira wasn’t the only artist going home with multiple awards as reggaeton duo Calle 13 took home three trophies. The Puerto Ricans were named best new artist, won for shortform music video with “Atrevete Te, Te!” and beat out reggaeton stars Daddy Yankee and Don Omar to win best urban music album with their self-titled debut.

Popular Mexican singer Joan Sebastian received two awards in the regional Mexican field, taking the nod for best banda album with “Mas Alla del Sol” and winning for best grupero album with “En el Auditorio Nacional.”

Argentine rocker Gustavo Cerati, who was nominated for four awards, also took home two statues: rock solo vocal album for “Ahi Vamos” and rock song for the piano ballad “Crimen.”

Socially conscious Guatemalan singer-songwriter Ricardo Arjona took the nod for male pop vocal album with his “Adentro.”

Mexican chanteuse Julieta Venegas, also nominated for four awards, won the alternative music album trophy for “Limon y Sal.”

Shakira, the Colombian singer and songwriter who is both an ambitious artist and a hip-swiveling sex symbol, reigned over Latin music at the Latin Grammy Awards, which were held for the first time in New York City last night at Madison Square Garden. The show began and ended with New York City’s durable Latin style, salsa.

Shakira’s 2005 Spanish-language album, “Fijación Oral Vol. 1,” won awards for album of the year and best female pop vocal album, and her single “La Tortura” won song of the year and record of the year.

She dedicated one of her awards to hard-working Latin immigrants in search of a dream, and another to the city where she grew up, Barranquilla, Colombia.

Her performance was split between the serious and the sultry; she sang “La Pared” in a long, black dress, alone with a pianist, then returned with bared midriff and hip-swaying, chest-shaking moves to perform “La Tortura.”

Last night’s show was the seventh Latin Grammy Awards. For its first five years, the show was conducted in English (though it was often bilingual) and was broadcast on the CBS network. Last year, it moved to the Spanish-language network Univision and switched to Spanish throughout.

Even New York City’s mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg, spoke Spanish when he arrived onstage behind a chorus line of women in red, though he seemed unaware that “Hasta la vista” is a goodbye, not a greeting.

With awards in 47 categories, from pop to samba to norteño to merengue to Colombian vallenato, the show has from the start juggled many Latin constituencies. This year it emphasized both New York’s largest Latin community, Puerto Ricans, and the largest Hispanic group in the United States, Mexican-Americans.

The show’s finale was a tribute to New York City as a stronghold of the salsa style developed by Puerto Ricans. It included performances by the Fania All-Stars with two Puerto Rican award winners, the singers Gilberto Santa Rosa (best salsa album) and Andy Montañez (best traditional tropical album).

The program also included a tribute to the Puerto Rican pop star Ricky Martin, named Person of the Year by the Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which presents the Latin Grammys. In his speech, after the thank yous, he condemned human trafficking.

An elaborate production number, complete with fireworks, celebrated the Puerto Rican reggaetón beat that has won young audiences across Latin America. Calle 13, a reggaetón group, was named best new artist, and its self-titled debut also won the award for best urban music album.

From the Mexican side came RBD, a pop group concocted for a soap opera; the rock band Maná; the norteño band Pesado; the torchy singer Ana Gabriel, singing with a mariachi group; the songwriter Joan Sebastian, who won an award for best banda album, in a collaboration with a Mexican brass band; and the singer Thalia, performing “Seducción” in a French-court costume number that ended up with her vamping in white satin lingerie.

It was a good night for Gustavo Cerati, who helped invent Latin alternative rock in the 1980s as the leader of Soda Stereo. He was one of the producers on Shakira’s album; he also won awards for best rock song and best rock solo album with his own album “Ahí Vamos.”

Cuban pianists took the awards for both best Latin jazz album — “Solo” by Gonzalo Rubalcaba — and best instrumental album — “Bebo,” by Bebo Valdés.

A collaboration between Mr. Valdés and the flamenco singer Diego el Cigala was named best long-form music video (in a tie with “Un Viaje,” by the Mexican rock band Café Tacuba). Diego’s album “Diego el Cigala” was named best flamenco album.

A collaboration between the Cuban songwriter Pablo Milanés and Mr. Montañez, the Puerto Rican salsa singer, was named best traditional tropical album, while the Puerto Rican singer Olga Tañon won the best contemporary tropical album award. Mr. Milanés also won the award for best singer-songwriter album for his “Como un Campo de Maíz.”

The award for Brazilian contemporary pop album went to Sergio Mendes’s hip-hop-flavored album “Timeless.” Other Brazilian winners included the singers Marisa Monte and Maria Rita and the rock band Os Paralamas do Suceso.

Mexican songwriters won for best rock album, “Casa” by Natalia y la Forquetina, and for best alternative music album, Julieta Venegas’s “Limón y Sal.”

Milly Quezada’s “MQ” was named best merengue album, and the best folk album was “Corazón Libre,” by the Argentine singer Mercedes Sosa.

Gustavo Santaolalla, the Argentine composer and producer who won an Academy Award for the score for “Brokeback Mountain,” shared a Latin Grammy for best tango album for “Café de Los Maestros.” The album brought together the elder generation of Argentine tango performers, including some of the final performances by musicians in their 90s who have since died.

Backstage, Mr. Santaolalla said, “It’s never too late.”


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