Photo: 2011 Latin Grammys
Socially conscious and irreverent Puerto Rican hip-hop duo Calle 13 were the undisputed kings of this year’s Latin Grammy Awards show, winning a record nine trophies overall and setting a new mark for most prizes won in a career.
Rene “Residente” Perez and Eduardo “Visitante” Cabra took home album of the year and best urban album for their 2010 release “Entren los que quieran,” song of the year (for the songwriting) and record of the year (for the recording) for “Latinoamerica” and best alternative song and best short-form music video for “Calma pueblo,” which rails against the Catholic Church.
They also picked up best urban song honors for “Baile de los pobres,” best tropical song for “Vamo’ a portarnos mal” and producer of the year (along with Rafael Arcaute).
With Calle 13’s big night, the duo’s career Latin Grammy Award haul climbed to 19, pushing them two ahead of Colombian pop star Juanes on the all-time list.
Calle 13, stars of this award show two years ago, also set the record for most prizes garnered in a single evening.
Arcaute was the other big winner of Thursday night’s extravaganza at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Events Center, winning in the six categories in which he was nominated, all for his production work with Calle 13.
“You need balls to do this,” Perez, wearing a T-shirt that proclaimed “free public education,” told the media after the awards ceremony. “We’re breaking down a lot of barriers.”
Calle 13 had been in the running for 10 awards overall, having also been nominated in the producer of the year category for their work on Colombian pop star Shakira’s album “Sale el sol.”
Cuban saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera won two golden gramophones for his “Panamericana Suite” album: best Latin Jazz album and best contemporary classical work/composition, while Mexican rock band Zoe came away with best rock song for “Labios rotos” and best alternative music album for “MTV Unplugged: Musica de fondo.”
Spanish artists Diego El Cigala and Niña Pastori were honored in the best tango album category for “Cigala y Tango” and also won the best flamenco album award for “La orilla de mi pelo.”
One of the highlights of the evening was the awarding of best folk album to late Argentine singer Mercedes Sosa’s “Deja la vida volar - En gira.”
The three-hour ceremony was filled with several memorable performances, with Calle 13 and Venezuela’s Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra kicking things off with a performance of the hip-hop duo’s “Latinoamerica,” an ode to regional pride.
Shakira followed with “Antes de las seis” and “Loca,” while Mexican rockers Mana and American pop and R&B star Prince Royce took the stage to perform “Lluvia al corazon” and “El verdadero amor perdona” and Puerto Rican reggaeton duo Wisin & Yandel were joined by Sean Kingston for “Estoy enamorado,” “Fire burning” and “Fever.”
The audience also gave a standing ovation to Shakira when actress and compatriot Sofia Vergara presented her with the Latin Recording Academy’s 2011 Person of the Year award.
The Colombian megastar said the prize was one of the “biggest moments” of her career and that it was an honor to receive it from Vergara, noting that both of them hail from the Caribbean city of Barranquilla.
Shakira also took home the prize for best female pop vocal album for “Sale el sol.”
During the second half of the show, Puerto Rican singer Sie7e spiced up his Spanglish “Tengo tu love” ballad with accompaniment by Mexican-American rapper Taboo of The Black Eyed Peas, while Pitbull and Marc Anthony got the crowd moving with an energetic performance of the former’s “Rain Over Me.”
Puerto Rican singer-songwriter Sie7e was named best new artist, Miami-based trio Alex, Jorge y Lena picked up best pop vocal album by a duo or group for their self-titled 2010 release and Mana was awarded the prize for best rock album for “Drama y luz.”
Venezuelan Franco de Vita captured the best male pop vocal album prize for “En primera fila,” while Mexican-American band Los Tigres del Norte won a golden gramophone for best norteño album for “MTV Unplugged: Los Tigres del Norte and Friends.”