Astrud Gilberto, Vikki Carr, Cheo Feliciano, Angélica María, María Dolores Pradera, and Estela Raval will receive The Latin Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award. Simón Díaz, Larry Harlow, and Juanito Márquez will be honored with the Latin Recording Academy Trustees Award. The award recipients will be acknowledged at a special ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2008, at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts in Houston.
"This is a diverse group of honorees that represent the vivid history, rich diversity and true foundation of Latin music," said Gabriel Abaroa, President of The Latin Recording Academy. "Their legendary passion and artistry has spanned many decades across many countries, illustrating the prominence and importance of Latin music globally. The Board of Trustees of The Latin Recording Academy is honored to pay homage to these creative and innovative visionaries who have made prolific contributions to Latin culture."
Lifetime Achievement Awards: This Special Award is presented by vote of The Latin Recording Academy’s Trustees to performers who, during their lifetimes, have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording.
The unique, wispy style of Brazilian vocalist Astrud Gilberto highlighted on the classic hit "The Girl From Ipanema" stormed the world by surprise as she won Record Of The Year at the 7th Annual GRAMMY Awards in 1964. As a poignant symbol of the bossa nova movement, she recorded more classics including among many others "Insensatez," and "Corcovado," In 2002 she released Jungle, an album of original compositions and she continues to sing throughout the world.
Blessed with a beautiful voice, Puerto Rico’s Cheo Feliciano has been at the epicenter of the salsa movement since the ’60s. As a soulful singer with a bolero style, he explored the fusion of Afro-Cuban dance with mainstream American genres such as R&B and big band jazz. He was an important part of the cultural movement of the New York salsa explosion in the ’70s. With such hits as "El Ratón" and "A La Seis" he continues to play live shows and record salsa songs to this day.
Three-time GRAMMY winner Vikki Carr has helped pave the way for American singers to freely explore their Latin roots in the United States. Born in El Paso, Texas, she released her first Spanish language album in 1972 and quickly developed a strong Mexican following. She has spanned genres from mainstream pop to country and jazz, and recorded more than 60 albums. Carr has also made her mark on screen and stage, and still performs to sold-out audiences today.
One of Mexico’s jewels known as "La Novia de México," Angélica María was the first woman to record in the bolero ranchero field, and her distinctive voice became associated with the emerging rock en español genre. Born in the United States, she relocated to Mexico City at the age of five, and is known for such pop-rock gems as "Adónde Va Nuestro Amor" and "Dominque." She has also enjoyed a flourishing career as an actress, starring in many movies, stage musicals, and telenovelas, where she continues to work today.
Favoring classic song formats like the bolero, ranchera, ronda, fado, and vals, María Dolores Pradera is one of the most respected and majestic singers to come out of Spain. She began her career as an actress, and in the ’60s joined Los Gemelos, where she would develop her crisp, delicate vocals that stand out in such songs as "Amarraditos," and "La Flor De La Canela." She continues recording albums and performing worldwide, and most recently released En buena compañía, a compilation album of her best duets.
An influential artist in the emergence of Latin pop and Spanish rock and roll, Estela Raval brought ’50s doo wop into Latin America. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1956, she founded the group Los 5 Latinos, with whom she would record more than 20 albums and such hits as "Solamente Tú" and "Tú Eres Mi Destino." Last year, they celebrated their 50th Anniversary with numerous sold-out shows throughout the Americas and a live CD/DVD package. She continues performing actively.
Trustees Award: This Special Award is presented by vote of The Latin Recording Academy’s Trustees to individuals who, during their careers in music, have made significant contributions, other than performance, to the field of recording.
Venezuelan composer and singer Simón Díaz has written dozens of songs that deeply connect to Latin American culture. His famous anthem "Caballo Viejo" — also known as "Bamboleo" — has been translated into more than 10 different languages. Artists he has composed for include Ruben Blades, Celia Cruz, Plácido Domingo, Julio Iglesias, and the Gipsy Kings. He recorded his first album as a singer/songwriter in 1963, and has since recorded many albums including the 2001 Amorosante where he revisited his bolero beginnings, as well as 2005’s Sabaneando. Also recognized as a celebrated comedian in Venezuela, his career has also encompassed roles in film, television, and theatre.
Salsa bandleader and keyboardist Larry Harlow, "El Judío Maravilloso," was one of the pivotal influences in the salsa explosion of the ’70s. A Jewish-American New Yorker, he proved that you don’t need to be Latino in order to be an innovator of Afro-Caribbean music. His densely textured keyboard solos highlight such classic salsa anthems as "La Cartera" and "Señor Sereno." A tireless promoter of tropical music, he has produced dozens of albums, created the all-female orchestra Latin Fever, and was an integral in the establishment of a Latin music category in the GRAMMY Awards — which was instituted in 1975. He currently tours the world performing salsa music.
Cuban guitarist and composer Juanito Márquez has had a remarkable career as a songwriter, arranger, and conductor in Cuba, Spain, and the United States. He composed the memorable boleros "Alma Con Alma" and "Como Un Milagro," and his debut album in 1964 pioneered the infectious song format pa’ cá — a swinging Cuban variation of the Venezuelan joropo. He was at the forefront of the golden era of Cuban music, when genres such as mambo and cha-cha-cha changed Latin music forever. His distinctive guitar skills can be heard in the music of Cachao, Julio Iglesias, Paul Mauriat, and on such Gloria Estefan albums as Mi Tierra, Abriendo Puertas, and the recent 90 Millas.
The Latin Recording Academy is an international, membership-based organization comprised of Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking recording artists, musicians, songwriters, producers and other creative and technical recording professionals. The organization is dedicated to improving the quality of life and cultural condition for Latin music and its makers. In addition to producing the Latin GRAMMY Awards to honor excellence in the recorded arts and sciences, The Latin Recording Academy provides educational and outreach programs for the Latin music community. For more information about The Latin Recording Academy, visit www.grammy.com.