Dominican singer and composer Juan Luis Guerra will be able to add an honorary doctorate to the many honors he has already received, which include eleven Grammy and Latin Grammy Awards and two Latin Billboard Music Awards. Today he received an honorary doctorate from the Berklee College of Music, from which he received a degree in jazz composition in 1982. Named a UNESCO Artist for Peace “in recognition of his efforts for the benefit of children with disabilities and children in need,” he is known for his eclectic musical style and the poetic nature of his lyrics, which often have political and social overtones. Joining Guerra as honorees were Smokey Robinson, Linda Ronstadt, and sound engineer George Massenbrug.
Berklee awarded its first doctorate in 1971 to Duke Ellington. Other recipients of the award include Dizzy Gillespie, Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin, Tito Puente, Chaka Khan, and Quincy Jones.
If this is your first introduction to Juan Luis Guerra, you may want to watch the video that follows. Guerra sings “El Niágara en bicicleta,” his stinging critique of the sad state of the medical system in the Dominican Republic, where receiving adequate medical care is harded than crossing Niagara Fall on a bicycle.
For more in the honorary degree (in Spanish) see http://www.univision.com/content/content.jhtml?cid=1937542