The 24th Annual Latin Grammy Awards Week commenced its festivities in Seville, Spain on Sunday (Nov. 12) with the Special Awards presentation. The honorees of the evening included esteemed figures such as Carmen Linares, Mijares, Arturo Sandoval, Simone, Soda Stereo, Ana Torroja, Alex Acuña, Gustavo Santaolalla, and Wisón Torres, all recognized for their outstanding contributions to the Latin music landscape.
“We are extremely honored for the opportunity to recognize these great figures of Ibero-America, whose musical legacy continues to inspire new generations,” Latin Recording Academy CEO Manuel Abud said of the 2023 honorees.
The Lifetime Achievement Award is granted to artists who have demonstrated exceptional achievements in the field of Latin music. This year, the honorees include Spanish singer-songwriter Carmen Linares, renowned for her profound grasp of flamenco; Mexican artist Mijares, after spending three decades in the industry scoring international hits; and Arturo Sandoval, a Cuban-American trumpeter and co-founder of the groundbreaking group Irakere, who has displayed his versatility in Latin jazz and classical composition.
Also recognized were the iconic Argentine rock group Soda Stereo; Brazilian singer Simone, who left an indelible mark on the MPB movement with her prolific discography; and Ana Torroja, the voice of the Spanish pop trio Mecano, who embarked on a successful solo career and has experimented with a variety of musical styles.
The Trustees Awards are given to individuals who have made substantial contributions to Latin music beyond performance. This year’s winners were Argentine composer Gustavo Santaolalla, for his pioneering work in various genres, particularly Latin rock; Peruvian percussionist Alex Acuña, who left his mark on the tropical music scene; and Puerto Rican guitarist Wisón Torres, for his unique ability to arrange and harmonize vocal quartets, leaving a lasting impact on Latin American music throughout his more than 75-year career.
The honorees were celebrated during a private event in the Teatro Lope de Vega in Sevilla, Spain. Below are quotes and more information about the nine honorees.
A drummer and percussionist of remarkable skill and technique, Alex Acuña is also a revered jazz and fusion bandleader. He attends the Special Awards Presentation during the 24th Annual Latin Grammy Awards on Nov. 12, 2023 in Seville, Spain.
“Hello, I am Ana Torroja from this wonderful city of Seville. I want to thank The Latin Recording Academy from the bottom of my heart for this award for musical excellence. Thank you for thinking of me,” said the Spanish singer on the red carpet of the event.
“I am very grateful to the Academy for this recognition, which I deeply appreciate. I believe that recognition is always very well-received, because it makes you want to continue, it makes you want to continue making efforts to do your best,” said the founding member of the innovative Cuban group Irakere during an interview on the red carpet.
“I want to send a big hug to everyone and thank you very much for this award for musical excellence, which is so important for an artist. And thank you to the [Latin] Grammys, ¡Viva la música!” said the flamenco legend on the red carpet.
“The award is given to the work that one has done, and that work responds to several things,” said the Argentine superproducer during his acceptance speech. “It would be very selfish to think that it responds only to oneself. It responds, of course, to a degree of inspiration of that magical thing, but it also responds to the collaboration, to the participation of many people, of those people who do not appear in the photos nor magazines, but who surely had a lot to do with each thing we have done. And of course, if I had to name all the people who have collaborated with me, both on the artistic side and on the business side, it would take us several days. But I’m going to try. We already see that in actually the award witnesses the history of Latin rock.”
“Here coming out of the [Latin] Grammys Award ceremony and I wanted to share with all of you this [Latin] Grammy that they give me for my trajectory along with the colleagues who were there on stage,” the Mexican singer posted on his Instagram. “I dedicate it to the public that has pushed us and kept us in a place to be able to receive this great award, to my children and Lucerito. And specially, remembering all the people of Acapulco who have always filled us with many incredible moments, in my case since I was born. I have been lucky enough to visit Acapulco which has gone through all this hurricane, but wishing the strength of the people of Guerrero who aways rise up.”
Simone’s prolific and immense discography sums up the massive appeal of the MPB movement. Here she attends the Special Awards Presentation during the 24th Annual Latin Grammy Awards on Nov. 12, 2023 in Seville, Spain.
“It was really a great surprise and an illusion when they called us to tell us that they were going to give us this recognition,” said Charly Alberti, the drummer of Soda Stereo, during his acceptance speech. The honor was bestowed upon Alberti and bassist Zeta Bosio by Afo Verde, chairman and CEO of Sony Music Latin.
Hailing from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Wisón Torres initiated his journey with the guitar at the tender age of seven. With a career spanning more than 75 years, Torres still creates music to this day. Here he attends the Special Awards Presentation during the 24th Annual Latin Grammy Awards on Nov. 12, 2023 in Seville, Spain.