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THE MAIMI HERALD
Celia Cruz Wins For Best Salsa Album, ``La Negra Tiene Tumbao"
BY JORDAN LEVIN
September 19, 2002
''Sorry for my English I still love you,'' Celia Cruz, right, said as she accepted the Latin Grammy for Best Salsa Album for ''La negra tiene tumbao,'' Wednesday in Los Angeles.
Spanish singer-songwriter Alejandro Sanz was the big winner in the Latin Grammy Awards Wednesday night at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, taking home awards for Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
Sanz's victories came for his heartfelt, subtle flamenco ballad Y sólo se me ocurre amarte, which won for song and record of the year, and his acoustic album MTV Unplugged, a display of musical taste that wasn't always matched by a sometimes awkward show.
Hialeah's own Jorge Moreno picked up one of the most sought-after awards, for Best New Artist, for his self-titled debut album, a smoky Cuban-inflected pop effort.
''I'm floating -- my feet aren't touching the ground,'' Moreno said. ``I didn't expect it with the guys I was nominated with. I'm a big fan of all of them. I'm very fortunate.''
Mexico's Ramón Ayala y Sus Bravos del Norte won two awards in the Mexican regional categories and Colombia's Carlos Vives won two, for Best Contemporary Tropical Album and Best Tropical Song, for his effervescent, innovative pop-vallenato album Déjame entrar and its title track.
Although the nominations recognized a wide range of countries and often little-known artists, the winners Wednesday were largely the best-known stars already established in the U.S. market -- which is what CBS most have hoped for after devoting three prime-time hours to the show and its warm-up.
Marc Anthony opened the nationally televised show in classic style, looking like a Puerto Rican Frank Sinatra in slim black suit, with a big salsa band backing him on a driving version of his song Celos.
But the show seemed to be groping over whether it wanted to appeal to English or Spanish speakers. Hosts Gloria Estefan and Jimmy Smits and the various presenters spoke in English -- sometimes sprinkled with clichéd phrases such as hot tamale -- while the artists mostly spoke in Spanish -- and sometimes apologized for it.
As the televised portion of the show began on CBS, veteran singer Celia Cruz won the first award announced _ best salsa album, for ``La Negra Tiene Tumbao.'' It took her a while to reach the stage in a tight red dress, but once she did, she promptly shouted for the audience, which gave her a standing ovation, to sit down.
''Sorry for my English -- I still love you,'' she said accepting the award.
''I'm sorry -- I've got to talk to my people in Spanish,'' Colombian rocker Shakira apologized in English to Francis Lawrence, the director of Suerte, which won the Best Music Video prize.
Many commercials also aired in Spanish, while CBS promos for new shows were in English.
However, the night also carried a sense of déj vu, with a number of performers returning from the inaugural 2000 show, or getting the onscreen chance they lost when last year's event -- scheduled for Sept. 11 -- was canceled due to that day's events.
One of those was Colombian rocker Juanes, who burst onto the scene with seven nominations last year but never got to perform.
His voice seemed to shake with emotion when he sang A Dios le pido -- the plea for peace and love that has become an anthem in his war-torn country -- in a duet with Nelly Furtado.
The song earned the award for Best Rock Song.
''It was a super emotional moment -- I wanted to do this so much and the show was canceled last year,'' said Juanes, who called the award a tribute to his country's music.
``I'm so happy for Colombia -- I feel like I'm part of a movement with Shakira and Carlos Vives.''
Vives echoed that.
''Patriotism is part of this -- I am so happy,'' he said after he picked up his two awards pre-telecast.
Also picking up an award was former Miami Film Festival Director Nat Chediak, honored for his first effort as a producer with a Grammy for Best Traditional Tropical album.
He won for El arte del sabor, with Bebo Valdés, Israel ''Cachao'' López and Patato Valdés.
''I'm thrilled for Bebo. . . '' Chediak said.