Rosalía, Kany García, bandleader and arranger Tony Succar, Argentine rocker Andrés Calamaro and Nicaraguan singer/songwriter Luis Enrique were early winners at The Premiere, the pre-telecast ceremony for the Latin Grammys.
The early gala, which took place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, was peppered with political and social references, a reflection of the turbulent times in many countries across Latin America.
Chile’s Mon Laferte, who won best alternative album for Norma, seized the moment to read a poem by Chilean poet La Chinganera. “Chile, your pain hurts me,” she read, referring to the current massive protests in her country.
“Nicaragua is still at war. Nicaragua continues fighting to be free,” said Luis Enrique, picking up his Latin Grammy for best folk album for Tiempo Al Tiempo, a collaboration with C4 Trio (the album’s single “Sirena” won best arrangement).
“This is for equality,” said Residente, picking up the best short form video award for “Banana Papaya,” his collab with Kany García. And then, he took it a step further: “Although it has nothing to do with the video, this is for all the people fighting in Latin America. We can’t continue to allow our governments to take us for fools. We need to continue fighting.”
For all the rhetoric, music still reigned.
“Music is always first,” he told Billboard backstage. “And, from music, we can create specific songs, like ‘Añoranza,’ that speaks to the Nicaraguan diaspora.”
Luis Enrique was not the only artist with multiple early wins. Rosalía’s El Mal Querer won best contemporary pop vocal album, best engineered album and best recording package.
In addition to Best Short Form video, Kany García won best singer songwriter album, a prize she yearned for, for her album Contra la Corriente. And Tony Succar won best salsa album for Mas De Mi and, in a surprise win, producer of the year. On his end, Calamaro won best pop rock album for Cargar la Suerte and best rock song for “Verdades Afiladas.” “Our music [rock] was not always treated with respect,” he said backstage.