The Latin Recording Academy® announced today that Carmen Linares, Mijares, Arturo Sandoval, Simone, Soda Stereo and Ana Torroja will receive this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award, as part of its annual Special Awards Presentation. Additionally, Alex Acuña, Gustavo Santaolalla and Wisón Torres will receive the Trustees Award.
“We are extremely honored for the opportunity to recognize these great figures of Ibero-America, whose musical legacy continues to inspire new generations,” said Manuel Abud, CEO of The Latin Recording Academy. “We look forward to celebrating their virtuoso careers during Latin GRAMMY® Week in Sevilla this coming November.”
The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to performers who have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to Latin music and its communities. The Trustees Award is bestowed on individuals who have made significant contributions to Latin music during their careers in ways other than performance. Both distinctions are voted on by The Latin Recording Academy’s Board of Trustees.
The honorees will be celebrated during a private event as part of Latin GRAMMY® Week on Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023, in the Teatro Lope de Vega in Sevilla, Spain. Alex Hadad will serve as executive producer of the event, working under the direction of The Latin Recording Academy’s production team led by Ayleen Figueras.
2023 Lifetime Achievement Award Honorees:
Carmen Linares (Spain)
One of the most gifted, passionate and knowledgeable cantaoras in the history of flamenco, Carmen Linares stands alongside Spanish legends such as Camarón de la Isla, Paco de Lucía and Enrique Morente. Born in the city of Linares, Andalucía, in 1951, she learned the musical codes of flamenco at a young age guided by her father’s guitar. In 1971, the release of her first album showcased a deep understanding of traditional Spanish styles. It was the beginning of a dazzling career that found her recording the works of Spanish poets like Federico García Lorca, Juan Ramón Jiménez and Miguel Hernández – as well as showcasing the splendor of flamenco artistry in concert halls around the world. Antología De La Mujer En El Cante (1996) is considered one of the essential records in the history of flamenco, and in 2020, she celebrated her career with the tour Cantaora: 40 Años De Flamenco. Linares has performed with symphony orchestras, directed her own shows and recorded songs for film and television soundtracks. In 2022 she received the Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts for a lifetime of dedication and devotion to flamenco.
Throughout his distinguished musical career, Mijares has produced a wide variety of records and sold millions of them along the way. Manuel Mijares was born in 1958 in Mexico City, where he began his artistic career with groups Sentido and Los Continentales, and was part of Emmanuel’s chorus. His solo debut, Soñador, in 1986, included the international smash “Bella”. In 1989 he enjoyed a pinnacle of popularity with the LP Un Hombre Discreto, backed by the torrid ballad “Para Amarnos Más”. With hits like “Uno Entre Mil” and “No Se Murió el Amor,” in the summer of 2009 he released Vivir Así, an album of balada favorites. After countless international performances, in 2016 he celebrated three decades of uninterrupted career with a concert at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico accompanied by a symphony orchestra.
Arturo Sandoval (Cuba/U.S.)
A founding member of innovative Cuban group Irakere, Arturo Sandoval has excelled as a Latin jazz musician, pianist, classical composer and trumpet virtuoso. Born in Artemisa, Cuba, in 1949, Sandoval formed Irakere in 1973 with keyboardist Chucho Valdés and saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera. Together, they pioneered a bold fusion of experimental jazz, funky rock’n’roll and rousing Afro-Cuban patterns. Sandoval left the band in 1981, and later moved to the U.S. with the assistance of his mentor Dizzy Gillespie. He then assembled his own band and began touring the world. Sandoval is equally comfortable performing as a classical trumpet soloist with symphony orchestras across the globe, and has also composed two Concertos for Trumpet and Orchestra. He’s the recipient of multiple Latin GRAMMYs and GRAMMYs, and won an Emmy for composing the score of For Love or Country—an emotionally stirring HBO biopic based on his life and starring Andy García. He was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2013.
Simone’s prolific and massively successful discography sums up the allure of the MPB movement and a samba-fueled revelry of life and romance. Born Simone Bittencourt de Oliveira in Salvador, Bahia, in 1949, the singer released her debut LP in 1973 followed by Quatro Paredes in 1974 and Gotas D’Água a year later. Featuring an ethereal reading of “Proposta” by Roberto Carlos and a soaring rendition of Milton Nascimento’s “Idolatrada”, respectively, the songbooks of both composers would continue to inspire Simone throughout her career. Simone made a deep imprint in Brazilian popular culture by recording the theme songs of many television soap operas, and also through her powerful live performances. Brilliantly combining a refined artistic palette with pop culture appeal, she is still at the top of her game both in the recording studio and concert stages around the world.
Soda Stereo (Argentina)
The Buenos Aires power trio Soda Stereo was formed in 1982 by Gustavo Cerati, Zeta Bosio and Charly Alberti. Initially influenced by British new wave, Soda’s early hits like “Cuando Pase El Temblor” and “Nada Personal,” connected with a young generation of fans pining for a rock band that offered a distinct South American perspective. As Soda enjoyed success outside of Argentina, its sound became more sophisticated, and yielded albums like Doble Vida (1988) with classics like “En La Ciudad De La Furia,” while Canción Animal (1990) included “De Música Ligera,” Soda’s biggest hit. The band broke up in 1995, two years after their last studio album, Sueño Stereo, and celebrated their trajectory with the epic double live album El Último Concierto – only to return in 2007 for the final Me Verás Volver tour. Despite Cerati’s unexpected death in 2014, Soda Stereo’s music continues to live on in the hearts of their fans.
Ana Torroja (Spain)
Ana Torroja became an international pop star in the 1980s as the charismatic voice of the Spanish pop trio Mecano. The iconic group achieved unprecedented levels of success, selling more than 25 million records worldwide. In 1997 Torroja embarked on a solo career with the successful release of Puntos Cardinales, and following the band’s definitive breakup a year later, she blossomed as a sophisticated singer/songwriter experimenting with exhilarating mosaic of styles. In 1999 Torroja surprised her fans again with her second album, Pasajes De Un Sueño, which abandoned the radio-friendly hits of the past in favor of a more cosmopolitan sound, with songs like “Ya No Te Quiero” and “Dentro De Mí.» She toured the world with Girados (2000), a joint concert with her friend, the legendary Miguel Bosé, with whom she would later record “Corazones.” She continues to be active in the recording studio and the concert halls of Europe and the Americas, always committed to both her loyal audience and to the genre she has been masterfully defending for more than four decades.
2023 Trustees Award Honorees:
Alex Acuña (Peru)
A drummer and percussionist of remarkable technique, Alex Acuña is also a revered jazz and fusion bandleader. Born in Pativilca, Peru, in 1944, he was enlisted by mambo king Pérez Prado at age 18 after moving to Lima. Acuña later worked in Las Vegas with the legendary Elvis Presley and Diana Ross, and joined jazz-rock supergroup Weather Report in the mid-‘70s, where he contributed progressive polyrhythms to two of the band’s most iconic albums, Black Market (1976) and Heavy Weather (1977). Following his departure from the band, Acuña amassed a prolific discography as a session sideman, working with Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, Plácido Domingo, U2 and many others. In the ‘80s, he flexed his creative muscles with the Christian jazz-funk collective Koinonia, and also paid tribute to his Afro-Peruvian roots with the mystically tinged songs of Los Hijos del Sol. In recent years, he contributed his marvelous percussive skills to the soundtracks of such high-profile films as Coco, Moana, West Side Story and Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Gustavo Santaolalla (U.S./Argentina)
Argentine composer, singer/songwriter and producer Gustavo Santaolalla—winner of multiple Latin GRAMMYs and GRAMMYs— has single-handedly changed the course of Latin music throughout a tireless career that spans multiple fields, decades and genres. Santaolalla became a rock star in his teens as co-founder of pioneering folk-rock supergroup Arco Iris. After moving to Los Angeles in the late ‘70s and establishing an artistic partnership with keyboardist Aníbal Kerpel, he became the one of the most influential producers in Latin rock history, helming a series of masterful albums by the likes of Café Tacvba, Maldita Vecindad, Julieta Venegas, Juanes and many others. The 1998 release of Ronroco paved the way for a new chapter as a soulful and inventive composer of soundtracks. His haunting scores for Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Babel (2006) won Academy Awards for Best Original Score. Concurrently, he has toured the world as a founding member of the genre-defying Bajofondo, a Rio de la Plata contemporary music group, and has collaborated with a wide array of artists – from Eric Clapton to the Kronos Quartet and classical composer Osvaldo Golijov. In recent years, he has gained acclaim writing the music for the two installments of the video game The Last of Us, as well as its subsequent and highly successful television adaptation, for which he received an Emmy nomination.
Wisón Torres (U.S/Puerto Rico)
Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1934, Wisón Torres started playing guitar at just seven years of age, and made his first professional appearance on Puerto Rican radio with Los Sultanes—a group he created and directed—at 14. Then, in 1951, he was given the task of forming and directing Los Hispanos de Puerto Rico, a quartet composed of members of different trios who joined together for special performances throughout the island. Inspired by the progressive arrangements of American jazz quartets, Torres fused their harmonies with a Latin American sensibility, and created a distinct sound for Los Hispanos with his unique ability to arrange and harmonize vocal quartets. The group’s refined, distinctive sound led to extensive tours in Latin America and the United States. In the mid-sixties, Tito Rodríguez produced a series of albums with Los Hispanos the transposed their sound to the pop music of the time. Over the years they also recorded with Tito Puente’s orchestra, toured England and continued with recording projects. With a career spanning more than 75 years, Torres still creates music to this day.