Alejandro Sanz dominates Latin Grammy Awards

Thursday, September 2, 2004

— Latin Grammy favorite Alejandro Sanz won four awards and Brazilian jazz songstress Maria Rita collected two Wednesday at a ceremony aimed at uniting Spanish- and Portugese-language music with the flash and sizzle of American pop.

Sanz won the male pop vocal album award and album of the year for "No Es Lo Mismo" and took home song of the year and record of the year trophies for writing and performing the album's title track.

The Spanish crooner, who has previously received seven Latin Grammys and one Grammy, was touring and did not attend the evening's festivities.

Many household names took a back seat among the multiple nominees as Rita and Cuban pianist Bebo Valdes totaled four bids each. Rita won best new artist and best Musica Popular Brasileira Album for "Maria Rita," which was also nominated for album of the year.

"When I was little I used to watch the Grammys with the family and we all knew how important it was to all the artists involved. I'm one of you now," she told the audience after winning her second honor.

Songwriter Milton Nascimento won the best Brazilian song award for writing her song "A Festa," which had been nominated for record of the year.

Valdes won for his collaboration with flamenco singer Diego El Cigala in the traditional tropical album category for "Lagrimas Negras."

The Cuban exile Valdes said he would not use his win as a means to comment on his homeland's politics. "The music is art. My politics are private," the 85-year-old said backstage. "It's been 24 years since I go to my country."

The entertainment portion of the show offered glitzy, often power-packed displays of music from a number of performers.

Spanish flamenco-singer David Bisbal kicked off the broadcast with a flashy dance number, then sang a romantic power-ballad duet with pop princess Jessica Simpson -- she in English, he in Spanish -- while they hung in each other's arms and sang face to face.

Other highlights included a collaboration featuring the hard-rock band Incubus and the Mexican rock/hip-hop group Cafe Tacuba, which won best alternative music album for "Cuatro Caminos."