Andy Montañez, Chucho Valdés, and Wilfrido Vargas to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Latin Grammy

Andy Montañez


The Latin Recording Academy® announced last week that Andy Montañez, Chucho Valdés, and Wilfrido Vargas will receive this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award, along with Erasmo Carlos, Dyango, José María Napoleón, and Yuri . Additionally, Horacio Malvicino and Tomás Muñoz will receive the Trustees Award. The honorees will be celebrated during a private ceremony to be held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas on Nov. 13th as part of the 19th Annual Latin GRAMMY® Week.

“We are proud to pay tribute to this remarkable group of talented artists and music professionals with this year’s Lifetime Achievement and Trustees Awards,” said Gabriel Abaroa Jr., Latin Recording Academy President/CEO. ” Our 2018 class has made outstanding contributions benefiting Ibero-American music, providing innovation, and a unique vision in favor of all music lovers.”

The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to performers who have made unprecedented contributions of outstanding artistic significance to Latin music. The Trustees Award is voted on by The Latin Recording Academy’s Board of Trustees and given to individuals who have made significant contributions, other than in performance, to music during their careers.

Andy Montañez stands as one of the most soulful and creative vocalists in the Afro-Caribbean genre. He was 20 years old when he joined El Gran Combo, the quintessential salsa orchestra, until 1981, when he decided to devote himself to a solo career. His newly gained independence allowed him to blossom as a songwriter and delve into the emerging style of salsa romántica. Marked by superlative production values and velvety arrangements, solo hits such as “Casi Te Envidio,” “Payaso,” “Me Gusta,” and “La Última Copa” established him as one of the most successful salsa singers of the ’80s. In 2006, he received a Latin GRAMMY for Best Traditional Tropical Album. Always willing to explore new directions, Montañez recently experimented with salsatón, fusing his tropical soundscapes with the urban vibe of reggaetón.   

Chucho Valdés

Chucho Valdés is a virtuoso pianist, bandleader, and composer. Both in his work with supergroup Irakere and as an eclectic and prolific solo artist, Valdés reinvented the lexicon of jazz, blending it with rock, classical music, and Afro-Cuban roots music. Chucho Valdés’ Irakere featured some of the island’s most talented musicians including Paquito D’Rivera on saxophone, Arturo Sandoval on trumpet, and featured a dazzling mix of rock, Afro-Cuban roots music and jazz. In 1998, Valdés launched an ambitious solo career that has included outstanding performances, a moving duet album with his father Bebo Valdés (Juntos Para Siempre), crackling quartet sessions, and the appearance of a new band, The Afro-Cuban Messengers. In 2000, Chucho Valdes and his father participated in Calle 54, a documentary film about Latin jazz musicians. He has received three Latin GRAMMYs and six GRAMMY awards.

Wilfrido Vargas

Wilfrido Vargas is part of a limited handful of bandleaders who managed to elevate the infectious merengue, the quintessential dance and music style from the Dominican Republic, into a worldwide craze. With memorable and powerful hit singles such as “El Africano,” “El Jardinero,” “A Mover La Colita,” “El Baile Del Perrito,” and “Abusadora” he has traced a prodigious discography spanning the development of merengue. In the early ’70s, he founded the orchestra Wilfrido Vargas & Sus Beduinos, however the ’80s was a time of extraordinary growth for Vargas, as the salsa explosion of the ’70s was replaced with new styles and genres in the Latin mainstream that included merengue. Besides having participated in movies and a reality show, Vargas continues actively touring and recording to this day.

Latin GRAMMY Week will culminate with the 19th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards, which will be broadcast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Nov. 15, from 8–11 p.m. ET/PT (7 p.m. Central) on Univision.

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