Hip-Hops universal appeal stood tall recently as Puerto Rican rap duo Calle 13 emerged as the big winner at this years Latin Grammy Awards.
The group, comprised of rappers Rene “Residente” Perez and his half brother Eduardo “Visitante” Cabra, collected five Grammys for album of the year and best urban album of the year.
The groups release Los de Atrás Vienen Conmigo won record of the year.
Calle 13 also earned best alternative song for their collaboration with Mexican rockers Cafe Tacuba, aka Cafe Tacvba for “No Hay Nadie Como Tú and best short form music video for “La Perla.”
Upon accepting the award for album of the year, Residente took time out to dedicate the award to popular folk singer/activist Mercedes Sosa.
The veteran entertainer died in October at age 74. “May she rest in peace. An applause for Mercedes Sosa, please,” Residente said.
Prior to her death, Sosa was known as a co-founder of the Nueva Cancion movement, an effort developed in the 1950s and 1960s that combined elements of traditional Latin folk music with popular rock music and lyrics pertaining to leftist politics.
Residente continued to show his appreciation for Sosa as he shared how her activism provided inspiration for those who would come after her.
“She is a voice who should never die, and young people should listen to her,” the rapper said. “In an era of dictatorship and difficult times, she wasn’t afraid. That’s why I dedicated it to her.”
Sosas presence was felt throughout the Latin Grammys as the Latin Recording Academy also paid homage to veteran Argentine entertainer with a brief video segment introduced by salsa icon Ruben Blades.
Other performers included Alejandro Sanz and Alicia Keys, who joined forces for “Looking for Paradise;” La Quinta Estacion member Natalia Jimenez, who sang “Me Dueles;” Oscar D’Leon and Puerto Rican Gilberto Santa Rosa, who treated the audience to a salsa jam with showgirls; and Los Tucanes de Tijuana, who performed Se Fue Mi Amor,” a winner for best regional Mexican song.
Best female pop vocal album winner Laura Pausini opened the Latin Grammys with “En Cambio No.” Despite a string of memorable performances, the show, hosted by Mexican comedian Eugenio Derbez and Mexican singer and actress Lucero, ran late.
The delay resulted from Mexico’s “Divo of Juarez,” Juan Gabriel singing for 40 minutes straight.
The vocalist, who received the Latin Recording Academy’s person of the year award, was scheduled to perform three of his hit songs, but continued singing as he interacted with amused audience members.