The Latin Recording Academy® announced today that Eva Ayllón, Joan Baez, José Cid, Lupita D’Alessio, Hugo Fattoruso, Pimpinela, Omara Portuondo, and José Luis Rodríguez “El Puma,” will receive this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Additionally, Mario Kaminsky will receive the Trustees Award. The honorees will be celebrated during a private luncheon ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas on Nov. 13, 2019, as part of the milestone 20th anniversary Latin GRAMMY® week. Singer, composer and Latin GRAMMY winner Johnny Ventura, and renowned Mexican journalist Paola Rojas will be the hosts of the event.
“I’m delighted to recognize a remarkable and well-rounded group of individuals with this year’s Lifetime Achievement and Trustees Awards,” said Gabriel Abaroa Jr., Latin Recording Academy President/CEO. “Each of these legends continues leaving their mark in the Latin music world through their talent, grace, and passion for creating sounds that have vibrated throughout our communities while helping to build our music for decades. We are looking forward to spotlighting their accomplishments during our landmark 20th anniversary Latin GRAMMY week.”
The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to performers who have made contributions of outstanding artistic significance to Latin music. The Trustees Award is bestowed to individuals who have made significant contributions, other than performance, to music during their careers. The Latin Recording Academy’s Board of Trustees is the body that votes on both distinctions.
Lifetime Achievement Award Honorees:
Eva Ayllón (Peru)
Eva Ayllón is one of the most celebrated voices in the Afro-Peruvian tradition. Her career started as a member of the popular group Los Kipus, with whom she recorded a catalog of Peruvian folk gems marked by nostalgic melodies and lilting guitar harmonies, followed by a debut solo album, Esta Noche, six years later. Ayllón performed a series of unforgettable concerts at Lima’s Teatro Municipal throughout the ’90s. Her fame spread beyond South America, with frequent European tours, performances at Carnegie Hall, and a live DVD recorded in Los Angeles. Besides joining the Peruvian version of “The Voice” as a coach, Ayllón continues to tour while expanding her recorded repertoire with a wide array of Latin styles.
Joan Baez (U.S.)
Folk superstar singer-songwriter Joan Baez bravely embraced her Latin roots in times where being Latino in the U.S. would backfire in most cases. By recording luminous versions of classic Latin anthems in the ’60s, she helped pioneer the American roots revival, paving the way for like-minded artists such as Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell. In 1974, she released her Latin magnum opus, Gracias A La Vida, that framed her never ending context of fighting for the socially abandoned, civic causes and cultural values. With definitive renditions of “Guantanamera,” Víctor Jara’s “Te Recuerdo Amanda,” and even the self-penned “Las Madres Cansadas” Baez has continued exploring an eclectic array of genres and styles across more than 30 albums.
José Cid (Portugal)
José Cid has effortlessly adapted the influence of Anglo popular music into an original style of Portuguese pop-rock. In 1956, the emergence of his cover band Os Babies marked a before-and-after moment for pop-rock in Portugal. His next group, Quarteto 1111, created the foundations of Portuguese rock, with a strong psychedelic tinge and groundbreaking releases such as the massive 1967 hit “A Lenda De El-Rei D. Sebastião.” Continuing as a solo artist, in 1978 he released 10000 Anos Depois Entre Vénus E Marte, widely considered a progressive rock masterpiece. As he reached a new stage of musical maturity in the ’80s, Cid turned his songbook to the roots of Portugal on the haunting Fado De Sempre. With dozens of hits under his belt, he remains a major concert draw in Portugal, releasing new music and live concert albums.
Lupita D’Alessio (Mexico)
Lupita D’Alessio, also known as “La Leona Dormida” (the Sleeping Lioness) began her career in the early ’70s and continues to this day. She has moved effortlessly between slick pop hooks and epic ranchera sessions and has been a key singer in Mexican popular music for the past five decades. In 1971, she released her superb debut, Mi Corazón Es Un Gitano. Boasting ornate arrangements, the album included hit singles such as “Con Amor” and the title track, a cover of an Italian hit. By the mid-’70s, D’Alessio found additional success in the children’s music genre and in the ’80s she appeared on Mexican soap operas and had a string of radio hits. Since then, she has continued releasing albums and she re-emerged as a key performer after 2010 and in 2017 launched the autobiographical TV series “Hoy Voy A Cambiar.”
Hugo Fattoruso (Uruguay)
Iconic Uruguayan keyboardist, singer, and composer Hugo Fattoruso is known for blending rock and roll, electric jazz, and bossa nova with traditional styles and creating his own contemporary sound, which led to a number of key records that span the past six decades of Latin music. Fattoruso began playing the piano professionally at age 12 with his father and brother Osvaldo—a lifelong collaborator—as part of Trío Fattoruso. In the mid-’60s he founded Los Shakers, which became one of the first bands to define the rock en español genre. The band’s 1968 album, La Conferencia Secreta Del Toto’s Bar, was a definitive masterpiece of the genre, and the next year Fattoruso and his brother released La Bossa Nova De Hugo Y Osvaldo. Fattoruso spent most of the ’70s in the United States playing with the trio Opa before moving to Brazil in the ’80s, where he worked with a gallery of musical giants, from Milton Nascimento and Chico Buarque to Djavan and Maria Bethânia. In recent years, Fattoruso has performed in a variety of formats and settings, continuing to explore the fusion of jazz and South American folk. His discography includes dozens of albums, rich in innovation and experimentation.
Argentinian brother-sister duo Pimpinela’s novel approach of mixing music with theatrical drama changed the face of Latin pop, generating sales of more than 30 million records. The emotional honesty and rich melodic content of their work struck a chord with the public beginning with their 1984 hit “Olvídame Y Pega La Vuelta.” In the ’80s they released albums in English, Italian, and Portuguese, and performed at the Viña del Mar International Song Festival, and collaborated with Spanish crooner Dyango. In the ’90s they embarked on a change of style, favoring a more relaxed approach and experimenting with traditional Latin formats. Always eager to try new projects, in 2003 they released an album of Italian pop covers titled Al Modo Nuestro, staged the musical comedy Pimpinela, La Familia in 2010, and even published an autobiography in 2017.
Omara Portuondo (Cuba)
Few vocalists have enjoyed a career as dazzling and mercurial as veteran Cuban singer Omara Portuondo. Born in Havana in 1930, Portuondo began her career as a dancer before joining the all-female Orquesta Anacaona in the early ’50s. In 1952, she and her sister Haydeé, along with Elena Burke and Moraima Secada, helped form the vocal quartet Cuarteto D’Aida, acclaimed for its refreshing combination of jazz harmonies and traditional Cuban styles. Portuondo remained with Cuarteto for 15 years, performing in Cuba and touring the United States while finding the time to record a stunning debut album, Magia Negra, in 1959. Later, Portuondo remained active as a member of classic charanga Orquesta Aragón, touring in Europe, Africa, and recording a series of solo performances. In 1999, her performance of “Silencio” with Compay Segundo for the Buena Vista Social Club film soundtrack was a highlight of the million-selling album. In 2000, the Social Club presented an exquisite album featuring Portuondo, and in 2009 she received a Latin GRAMMY Award for Best Contemporary Tropical Album for Gracias. At 89, she remains active in the recording studio and on concert stages around the globe.
José Luis Rodríguez (Venezuela)
José Luis Rodríguez, also known worldwide as “El Puma,” transcended the boundaries of classic Venezuelan baladas and Latin pop, becoming a cultural treasure for people all over Latin America and in many countries around the world. He began his career singing as a kid with the pop group Los Zeppy, but in 1963, bandleader Luis María “Billo” Frómeta spotted him on a television show and invited him to join Billo’s Caracas Boys (Venezuela’s great Afro-Caribbean orchestra). Rodríguez spent four years singing boleros, merengues, and other tropical formats, honing the smoldering vocal style that he would later transpose to the balada genre. In 1968, he simultaneously released the album Lo Romántico De José Luis while acting in soap operas. In 1972, he expanded his style with a broader pop repertoire and gained his artistic moniker when portraying the character El Puma in the soap opera “Una Muchacha Llamada Milagros.” International success arrived in the late ’70s, with recordings in Spain and the release of major hits such as “Voy A Perder La Cabeza Por Tu Amor,” “Pavo Real,” and “Dueño De Nada.” In 2017, he survived a double-lung transplant and returned to action in 2019 with the appropriately titled Agradecido (Grateful) tour.
Trustees Award Honoree:
Mario Kaminsky (Argentina)
The enjoyment, promotion, and preservation of music has been at the core of Mario Kaminsky’s professional life for over 60 years. The Argentine executive who was a native of Chile has been involved in every possible aspect of the business, including the intersection of music, film, and television. Kaminsky founded Microfón Argentina, a record label in 1959. It was through the management of this label that Kaminsky’s strength as an eclectic tastemaker shone through, effectively changing the landscape of Latin music by recording pioneering artists such as singer/guitarist Atahualpa Yupanqui, folk groups Los Chalchaleros and Los Fronterizos, and iconic rock stars Charly García and Luis Alberto Spinetta. After tremendous efforts and not less success, Microfón and Mario became considered the home and father of rock en español. The Microfón catalog was sold to Sony in 1995, as Kaminsky continued to explore new creative avenues. From 1997 to 2000, he was president of the Argentine branch of Fonovisa Records. He has also played a prominent role in radio, television, music publishing, and film production.
Latin GRAMMY Week will culminate with the 20th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards®, which will be broadcast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Nov. 14, from 8–11 p.m. ET/PT (7 p.m. Central) on Univision.
For more information and the latest news, please visit the official Latin Recording Academy website at: LatinGRAMMY.com (#LatinGRAMMY).