Karol G, Shakira and Natalia Lafourcade win big at the Latin Grammys

Spain sought to share the cultural weight of its former colonies at the 24th edition of the Latin Grammy Awards, broadcast worldwide on Thursday evening from the Fibes convention center in Seville. It was the first Latin Grammy ceremony to take place outside the United States.

Even with the transatlantic shift, the most important prizes went to women from Latin America. Karol G, from Colombia, won album of the year for “Mañana Será Bonito.” Shakira, from Colombia, shared Song of the Year, a songwriting award, for her collaboration with Argentine producer Bizarrap, “Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53.” They performed it on the show, with Shakira who danced sinuously and with an air of defiance.

Karol G became the first woman to win a Latin Grammy for an urban music album; “How great is it for a woman to win this?” she cheered. And “TQG,” her duet with Shakira from that album, was named best urban/fusion performance.

Record of the year, a single award, went to Mexico’s Natalia Lafourcade: “De Todas las Flores,” the title track of a richly retro album that was named best singer-songwriter album. “This is the most personal album I made at a time when I felt completely destroyed,” she said as she accepted an award at the preshow. “I didn’t even know where to start, and music once again taught me its power, its medicinal power.”

Joaquina, an introspective 19-year-old Venezuelan singer-songwriter, won best new artist. “They told me I wouldn’t make it if I recorded my own songs, but here I am,” she said in a tearful speech. “Music is always worth it.”

For the Latin Recording Academy, which gives out the awards, Latin music is not defined by geography or history. It’s simply a matter of what language the lyrics are in: Spanish, Portuguese, or indigenous languages ​​of the Americas. This year’s person of the year award, a lifetime achievement award, went to Laura Pausini, an Italian singer who has spent much of her 30-year career performing in Spanish.

The Latin Grammys’ adventure in Spain was supported by a $24 million grantfor this year’s Latin Grammys and other musical events in Andalusia, by the European Union and the government of the region of Andalusia, the cradle of flamenco.

The awards ceremony took place during the annual International Flamenco Day, to commemorate the recognition of flamenco as an artistic and cultural culture by UNESCO in 2010. “intangible cultural heritage”. While Caribbean reggaeton and regional Mexican music are the styles that have driven the new global popularity of Latin music, the awards ceremony highlighted the influence of Spain and flamenco.

The pre-show awards webcast began with the clang of a martillo – an anvil, harking back to the flamenco tradition of using the rhythms of Roma blacksmiths – and a medley of nominees in the flamenco category including Niña Pastori, the winner. She defined flamenco as “music of purity” and congratulated the other candidates, urging them to “continue fighting for this flamenco, which is the most beautiful music there is”.

The main awards ceremony began with Spanish singer-songwriter Rosalía, whose “Motomami” was named album of the year in 2022. She sang “Se Nos Rompió el Amor” (“We destroyed our love)” – a dramatic success by Rocío Jurado, a Spanish singer who died in 2006 – in a loud crescendo surrounded by flamenco guitarists and handclaps. The raspy-voiced Spanish singer-songwriter Alejandro Sanz performed among 30 flamenco dancers. With orchestral accompaniment, opera tenor Andrea Bocelli sang “Granada,” Mexican singer-songwriter Agustín Lara’s homage to the Spanish city.

Where Latin American songwriters had collaborated with the Spanish, those songs were present. Pablo Alborán, from Spain – who has had 24 Latin Grammy nominations without any wins – was joined by Argentine singer-songwriter Maria Becerra for their duet, “Amigos”, before she went on to sing a ferocious solo version of his bitter and wrathful post-breakup song “Ojala” (“I hope”). Spanish singer-songwriter Manuel Carrasco sang with Colombian singer-songwriter Camilo before they were also joined by Brazilian singer Iza and Camilo’s longtime collaborator Edgar Barrera, who was named producer of the year and songwriter of the year. Barrera also shared the songwriting award for the regional Mexican song, The Hit “One x100to” (“One Percent”) by Bad Bunny and Grupo Frontera.

The show offered a little recognition for the regional Mexican music that has been a growing international force in recent years. “Ella Baila Sola” (“Dance alone”) – a fast, pumped-up waltz about conquering a beautiful woman – became an international hit single this year, and got its first stage performance in Seville from his studio and video collaborators, Peso Pluma and Eslabon Armado.

Mexican singer-songwriter Christian Nodal, who won awards for both his norteño album and his ranchero/mariachi album, shared a vehement duet of lovers’ arguments, “The next” (“The Next One”), with Kany García from Puerto Rico. Mexican singer-songwriter Carín Leon got two spots, alone and with Colombian singer Maluma.

Cross-border, cross-genre collaborations increasingly define pop both inside and outside the United States, and no music awards show can keep pace. But the Latin Grammys’ excursion to Spain felt like a jaunt, not a preview.