The Latin Recording Academy® announced today Lucecita Benítez, João Bosco, Ilan Chester, Victor Heredia, Los Del Río (Antonio Romero Monge and Rafael Ruiz Perdigones), Guadalupe Pineda, and Cuco Valoy will receive the this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Jon Fausty and Lalo Schifrin will receive the Trustees Award. The Lifetime Achievement and Trustees Award honorees will be celebrated during a private ceremony held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas on Nov. 15 as part of the 18th Annual Latin GRAMMY® Week.
“We are proud to honor such a diverse group of internationally acclaimed artists with this year’s Lifetime Achievement and Trustees Awards,” said Gabriel Abaroa Jr., Latin Recording Academy President/CEO. “Our 2017 class represents a wide-range of artists that together have contributed to shape Latin music’s iconic rhythms and lyrics throughout history. Each honoree is an inspiration to our culture and community as well as a muse for new and contemporary work.”
The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to performers who have made unprecedented contributions of outstanding artistic significance to Latin music and the Latin community. The Trustees Award is given to individuals who have made significant contributions, other than performance, to Latin music during their careers. All the honorees are chosen by vote by the members of The Latin Recording Academy’s Board of Trustees.
2017 Lifetime Achievement Award Honorees:
Lucecita Benítez began her career as a young Puerto Rican star, a protagonist of the Nueva Ola pop phenomenon. But her subsequent discovery of the socially conscious nueva trova movement and her elegant interpretation of classic boleros place Lucecita at the very heart of everything that is soulful in Latin music. International fame arrived in 1969 when Lucecita won the first prize in Mexico’s Festival de la Canción Latina with the song “Génesis.” The next year, she appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and toured the United States extensively.
“I feel deeply honored by The Latin Recording Academy’s recognition of my career of more than five decades in this wonderful industry. Receiving such an important prize brings me unequalled pride in the work that I have enjoyed and loved all my life. But above all, it gives me the satisfaction of having faced it with the dignity and poise that the times required of me. Many thanks to The Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences® for allowing me to experience this great moment in my life.”— Lucecita Benítez
Lush, soulful, and sophisticated, the songs of singer/songwriter and guitarist João Bosco are an essential part of the música popular brasileira (MPB) movement — the fusion of traditional formats with jazz, rock and funk that blossomed in Brazil in the ’60s and ’70s. An artist of seemingly unlimited imagination, Bosco is a Latin GRAMMY winner and has received eight Latin GRAMMY nominations. He continues touring internationally and recording to this day.
“It’s good to know the way in which we have traversed these many years — and many times we did it in obscurity — is illuminated by the ray of light that reveals us and fills us with pride and gratitude. Thank you for this distinction and honor.” — João Bosco
Ilan Chester has transformed a deep mystical devotion and his fascination with many different sounds into a long-lasting career of staggering variety and depth. A multitalented singer/songwriter and musician, Chester grew up listening to Venezuelan folk, Afro-Caribbean dance formats, British progressive rock, and American R&B, all of which would play a part in his own music. He received a Latin GRAMMY for Best Folk Album for 2010’s Tesoros De La Música Venezolana.
“I must admit that the phone call I received from The Latin Recording Academy informing me of the decision to award me special recognition for my musical career was quite a surprise. I am deeply grateful.”— Ilan Chester
Born in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Monserrat in 1947, Víctor Heredia enjoyed success early in his career when his composition “Para Cobrar Altura” was celebrated at the annual Cosquín Folk Festival in 1967. In 1986, he released his most ambitious work to date: Taki Ongoy, a concept album about the conquest of the Americas from the point of view of the vanquished indigenous people. Now an established master of Latin song, Heredia is celebrated as a living legend.
“I feel great joy because of this incredibly kind gesture toward my career as an artist of the people. Thank you to The Latin Recording Academy! You fill me with excitement and give me the strength to continue.” — Víctor Heredia
Los Del Río’s Antonio Romero Monge and Rafael Ruiz Perdigones were teenagers when they joined forces to appear on a radio show in their native Sevilla, Spain. The year was 1962, and the two friends decided to perform under the name Los Del Río, launching a career of flamenco pop music in Spain during the ’70s and ’80s, they boasted the same infectious sense of joy and warm sonics that would later define their 1993 global hit “Macarena.” “Macarena” went on to sell millions of copies worldwide, staying on top of the Billboard Hot 100 for 14 consecutive weeks and igniting a dance craze that is still fondly remembered in dance clubs around the globe. Far from being one-hit wonders, Los Del Río have spent decades honing a distinctive sound — life affirming, irrepressibly melodic — forever in touch with their Spanish roots.
“For us it is a great honor to be recognized by the most universal of music awards. Thank you.” — Los Del Río
Few artists in the vast landscape of Mexican music have managed the seemingly impossible task of switching effortlessly between genres, formats, and languages, and selling millions of records while maintaining a distinct identity. Guadalupe Pineda is one of them, and her dazzling voice is at the heart of her one-of-a-kind success story. Pineda recorded 30 albums devoted to mariachi, bolero, operatic arias — Mi Corazón Se Abre A Tu Voz/Arias de Ópera, 2002, and French pop classics — Francia Con Sabor Latino, 2008. During her career she has shared the stage with a diverse group of singers such as Plácido Domingo, Natalia Lafourcade, and Mercedes Sosa. Pineda teamed up with fellow Latin singers Eugenia León and Tania Libertad for a series of sold-out shows in 2016, a collaboration that led to a Best Long Form Music Video Latin GRAMMY nomination. Pineda continues to record, with a new album release scheduled for 2018.
“I am deeply grateful to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, after 43 years of singing and working in music, proudly representing the art and culture of Mexico and of our Latin American nations. I am touched and inspired to continue along this wonderful path. I congratulate my colleagues who are sharing in this great honor.”— Guadalupe Pineda
One listen to “Juliana” — the transcendental hit by Cuco Valoy — is enough to illustrate the place of honor that this Dominican singer/songwriter occupies within the history of Afro-Caribbean music. “Juliana” is a prime example of classic salsa at its best, complete with electrifying brass riffs, clave-infused percussion and a swinging piano line. Most notably, Valoy can easily switch from authentic salsa grooves to merengue beats and rootsy “cha cha chá” — making him one of the most versatile performers in tropical music. A true master of Afro-Caribbean rhythms, Valoy continues to tour and receive recognition and awards around the world.
“To me, the Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest award that can be given to a musician over the course of a career. It is an honor to be recognized by colleagues and peers in the industry. The years have been long, but well spent. Thank you to The Latin Recording Academy and to the fans who find pleasure in my songs.”— Cuco Valoy
2017 Trustees Award Honorees:
Decades ago, Latin music was forever changed in New York when a young generation of musicians fused the raucous grooves of Cuban music with a dash of R&B, jazz, rock, and psychedelia. Known as the salsa explosion of the ’70s, this movement found legends such as Ray Barretto, Ruben Blades, Willie Colon, Celia Cruz, and Héctor Lavoe recording some of the best albums of their careers. The man who sat behind the controls for most of these sessions — the quintessential recording engineer of the salsa experience — was Jon Fausty. Following the salsa explosion, he continued working with the genre’s most innovative artists, producing albums for Los Van Van and Eddie Palmieri, and collaborating with Steve Lillywhite on David Byrne’s Rei Momo. With six GRAMMY Awards®, five Latin GRAMMY Awards and seven Latin GRAMMY nominations, Fausty continues to produce and engineer and is sought out by Latin music’s best.
“I feel extremely grateful and humbled that The Latin Recording Academy’s Board of Trustees has elected me in 2017 to receive this recognition for the contributions I have made to the music recording industry over the course of my career.”— Jon Fausty
If the ’60s and ’70s were a time of absolute creative splendor for the art of the movie soundtrack, Argentinian born Lalo Schifrin is one of its all-time masters. Seeped in gorgeous melodies and melancholy moods, informed by jazz and the avant-garde, his compositions for cinema and television remain today a paragon of sophistication. A true Renaissance man of 20th century music, Schifrin is also a jazz pianist, skillful arranger, orchestra conductor, and composer of virtuoso taste and eclecticism. Releasing a variety of new music through his own label, Aleph Records, Schifrin continues actively composing and recording and has received one Latin GRAMMY as well as four GRAMMY Awards.
“Your generosity in granting me the Trustees Award is an honor that touches me profoundly. Thank you very much for this distinction, which emphasizes my heritage as a Latin composer and performer from Argentina.” — Lalo Schifrin
The 18th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards will broadcast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Nov. 16, 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).