LOS ANGELES Carlos Santana continued his supernatural winning streak at the inaugural Latin Grammy Awards here Wednesday night by taking home three trophies, including the top honor, Record of the Year.
The veteran rock guitarist and Mexican rock band Maná won Record of the Year for their collaboration on "Corazón Espinado," off Santana's album Supernatural. The multiplatinum, star-studded CD helped Santana win a record-tying eight awards at the Grammy Awards in February, including Record of the Year for "Smooth."
But for Santana, victory is still as sweet as ever.
"It feels like the first kiss, when a beautiful woman allows you to touch her tongue with your tongue," Santana said backstage. "It feels very, very natural and divine and human. This is the beginning of a lot of possibilities and opportunities." Santana also took Latin Grammys for rock performance by a duo or group with vocal (also for "Corazón Espinado") and for best pop-instrumental performance ("El Farol").
Holding up his awards, Santana said they represented his hope for bilingual education and for "the rest of the human race to participate" in the celebration of Latin music. The guitarist said he hopes to invite Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu to the ceremony next year because "the music that all Latin people play is African music."
Mexican singer Luis Miguel, who was absent at the ceremony, also won three awards, including the Album of the Year honor, for Amarte Es un Placer. In addition to their two awards with Santana, Maná won best pop performance by a duo or group, for "Se Me Olvidó Otra Vez."
The show, which superstar Gloria Estefan co-hosted with actors Andy Garcia and Jimmy Smits, was telecast on CBS from the Staples Center. (Sonicnet.com's parent company, Viacom, also owns CBS.) The Latin Academy, the organization that puts on the show, designates that all Spanish- or Portuguese-language musics qualify for nominations; about 2,600 academy members from 15 countries voted on the 40 categories.
The first Latin Grammy nominations sparked some controversy when the largest independent Latin-music label in the United States, Fonovisa, claimed Mexican regional music including tejano, ranchera and norteño was underrepresented. Following through on its promise, Fonovisa boycotted the ceremony, as did mariachi star Pepe Aguilar. Three Fonovisa artists Banda el Recodo, Los Temerarios and Los Tigres del Norte won awards but none attended to accept their honors.
"I was very disappointed about [the controversy]," Emilio Estefan Jr. said backstage during the pre-telecast award presentations. "I hope this award [ceremony] will unite people. If we make any kind of controversy, it will do damage [to efforts to unite Latin artists]."
Estefan, who is married to singer Gloria Estefan, led the list of nominees, with six, but took home only two honors, including Producer of the Year.
Argentine performer Fito Páez, Dominican singer Juan Luis Guerra and Colombian songstress Shakira also won two awards each.
Shakira dedicated her Best Female Rock Performance award for "Octavo Día" (RealAudio excerpt) to her homeland. "I want to dedicate this award to that country that is going through difficult times but never forgets how to smile," she said onstage. Shakira also won Best Female Pop Vocal performance, for "Ojos Así" (RealAudio excerpt).
Song of the Year went to Marc Anthony's "Dimelo," written by Anthony, Robert Blades, Angie Chirino and Cory Rooney. Cuban singer Ibrahim Ferrer, who is 73 and began performing at 14, was named Best New Artist. He was the featured vocalist on last year's acclaimed Buena Vista Social Club.
Alejandro Fernández beat out his father, Vicente, in the Best Ranchero Performance category. Antonio Aguilar and his son, Pepe, were also nominees in the category.
The show opened with an all-star tribute performance to recently deceased percussion great Tito Puente, who won an award for Best Tropical Performance. "I hope that everyone here has somehow been influenced by his music," said Audrey Puente, who accepted the trophy for her father. Puente died during heart surgery in June.
Ricky Martin opened the tribute with a rendition of Puente's famous "Oye Como Va." Gloria Estefan and a blue-haired Celia Cruz who later won for Best Salsa Performance stepped in to lead a medley of "Quimbara" and "La Boto."
Santana was also slated to participate in the tribute but pulled out late Tuesday night, apparently displeased with how the performance was shaping up at rehearsals, according to a source who observed the session. Santana complained that "it wasn't how Tito would have wanted [it]" and that the performers "were rushing through like they just wanted it to be over," said the source, who requested anonymity.
But Santana did turn up for his performance with Maná of their winning tune, "Corazón Espinado." Pop superstars *NSync bravely tested out their Spanish against suave Puerto Rican salsa and R&B group Son by Four on a duet of "Yo Te Voy Amar."
With their long, wavy blonde hairdos and flashy red outfits, Shakira and Christina Aguilera looked eerily alike in separate performances, which saw each flanked by dancers as she sassily laid claim to the stage. Shakira performed her winning number, "Ojos Asi," while Aguilera sang the traditional ballad "Contigo en la Distancia" and the Spanish version of her breakthrough hit, "Genie in a Bottle" "Genio Atrapado" (RealAudio excerpt). Both songs appear on her first-ever Spanish-language album, Mi Reflejo, which hit stores Tuesday.
Jennifer Lopez was initially billed as a co-host, but the singer only appeared as a presenter at the beginning and end of the ceremony. She was also scheduled to perform a duet with Anthony, but that performance was canceled when Anthony decided to bow out and remain home with his wife, who is experiencing problems with her pregnancy.
Latin Grammy winners:
Record of the Year
Santana featuring Maná, "Corazón Espinado"
Album of the Year
Luis Miguel, Amarte Es un Placer
Song of the Year
Marc Anthony, "Dimelo (I Need To Know)"
Male Pop Vocal Performance
Luis Miguel, "Tu Mirada"
Female Pop Vocal Performance
Shakira, "Ojos Asi"
Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal
Maná, "Se Me Olvidó Otra Vez"
Pop Instrumental Performance
Santana, "El Farol"
Luis Miguel, Amarte Es un Placer
Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal
Santana, featuring Maná, "Corazón Espinado"
Male Rock Vocal Performance
Fito Páez, "Al Lado del Camino"
Female Rock Vocal Performance
Shakira, "Octavo Dia"
Fito Páez, "Al Lado del Camino"
Café Tacuba, Reves/Yo Soy
Celia Cruz, "Celia Cruz and Friends: A Night of Salsa"
Juan Luis Guerra y 440, "Ni Es Lo Mismo Ni Es Igual"
Alejandro Fernández, "Mi Verdad"
Traditional Tropical Performance
Tito Puente, "Mambo Birdland"
Juan Luis Guerra (songwriter), Juan Luis Guerra y 440, "El Niágara En Bicicleta"
Banda El Recodo, "Lo Mejor de Mi Vida"
Los Temerarios, "En La Madrugada Se Fue"
Los Palominos, "Por Eso Te Amo"
Los Tigres Del Norte, "Herencia de Familia"
Kike Santander (Alejandro Fernández), "Mi Verdad"
Mercedes Sosa, Misa Criolla
Juan Carlos Baglietto & Lito Vitale, Postales del Alma
Camaron Con Tomatito, Paris 87
Latin Jazz Album (two winners)
Michel Camilo & Tomatito, Spain; Paquito D'Rivera, Tropicana Nights
Contemporary Pop Album
Milton Nascimento, Crooner
Legiao Urbana, Acustico MTV
Zeca Pagodinho, Zeca Pagodinho ao Vivo
MPB (Musica Popular Brasileira) Album
Caetano Veloso, Livro
Sergio Reis, Sergio Reis e Convidados
Brazilian Roots/Regional Album
Paulo Moura e os Batutas, Pixinguinha
Latin Children's Album
Miliki, A Mis Ninos de 30 Años
Tomas Breton, La Dolores
Ni Es Lo Mismo Ni Es Igual (Juan Luis Guerra y 440)
Producer of the Year
Emilio Estefan Jr.
Gloria Estefan, "No Me Dejes de Querer"