November 10, 2011
Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino – Las Vegas, NV
Every year, in the beginning of November, Latin music’s hottest acts converge on Las Vegas to celebrate the Latin GRAMMY’s. This year Latin GRAMMY week was busier than ever with interviews, rehearsals and pre-Latin GRAMMY parties that had city of sin sizzling with excitement. I arrived on Monday to attend rehearsals all week in support of the show and make sure that our endorsers and any artist using Shure were well supported and had the gear that they needed in order to sound how they want for their performances. I was happy to discover that the majority of the artists performing chose Shure mics and in-ear monitors for their performances.
Tuesday’s rehearsals kicked off with longtime Shure users Los Tigres del Norte featuring Paulina Rubio and continued with Reyli and Pepe Aguilar with his Maricahi. Later that evening, Shure Endorsers Calle 13 took the stage after arriving from a 14 hour flight from Chile and a four hour drive from LAX. After almost 20 hours traveling they finally arrived to Las Vegas right before their rehearsal was scheduled to begin. Once arrived, they were exhausted but excited for their rehearsal with the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar of Venezuela that was conducted by none other than prodigious Gustavo Dudamel. According to Calle 13’s Tour Manager, they have been on tour non-stop and have not had a chance to rehearse with the orchestra. He said that they had to send the music via email to Dudamel and this was the first time they would be rehearsing together. It was amazing to watch Calle 13 and the orchestra, come together as if they have played a whole tour together after only a few run throughs. Of all the rehearsals I have witnessed to that point, this one was the most powerful, and it would go on to prove to be true of the rest. I could not wait to see it in front of a full house.
Wednesday’s rehearsals were not to be outdone. They kicked off with Marco Antonio Solis and continued throughout the day with Wisin & Yandel featuring Sean Kingston, Shakira, Romeo Santos featuring Usher, Pitbull and Marc Anthony and finished with Shure Endorsers Maná featuring Prince Royce. Needless to say it was an action packed day that was highlighted by entertaining rehearsals by Pitbull and Marc Anthony as well as Maná with Prince Royce. Later that night I attended BMI’s Los Producers Charity Show where some of the industry’s leading producers and engineers formed bands to play covers of popular 80’s jams to raise awareness and hold a silent auction for The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation. Many artists came to this event to support their producers and engineers friends who usually reside behind a mixing console.
Thursday was show day and after a full run through of dress rehearsals it was time for the show. While the lights in the arena dimmed and the Orchestra led by the maestro Dudamel played, Rene “Residente” Perez of Calle 13, armed with a SM58 in hand and the PSM1000, opened the show with a simple message, “I’d like to dedicate this song, to all of the Latin Americans that are here tonight, from the deepest part of my heart, and to everyone watching on TV throughout Latin America, I hope it transports to your barrios, to your streets, to your roots, to the pains of your countries and that you feel it here in your chest.” The song Calle 13 performed was “Latinoamérica” which later went on to win the Latin GRAMMY for song of the year. The song begins by saying…
“I am, I am what was left behind, I am the left overs of all that has been stolen, A village hidden in the peak, my skin is made of leather to withstand any climate. I am a factory of smoke, A peasant working hand for your consumption, a cold front in the middle of the summer, Love in the Time of Cholera, my brother… The sun that is born and the day that dies, with the most beautiful dawns…”
After a few more verses the chorus says…
“You cannot buy the wind, you cannot buy the sun, you cannot buy the rain, you cannot buy the warmth, you cannot buy the clouds, you cannot buy the colors, you cannot buy my happiness, you cannot buy my pain…”
These words received a very emotional standing ovation because it was a very fitting and touching way to start the show since it poetically describes the struggles that Latin America has faced and how it has conquered them with its people’s unity and resolve. Looking around the room I saw many tears in the eyes of those around me. It was the most powerful musical moment I have ever witnessed. After the performance, I stood their wondering how this was received on the other side of the TV throughout the millions of homes not only throughout “Latinoamérica” but also throughout the homes of Latinos around the world. Shortly after I started receiving messages from friends and family saying how beautiful that moment was.
Calle 13 would go on to take over the night by winning 9 out of 10 Latin GRAMMY’s they were nominated for giving them a record total of 19 Latin GRAMMY’s which surpassed Juanes’s old record of 17. After winning the GRAMMY for Song of the Year, their 8th time up to the stage to claim an award, Rene said to the crowd, “I don’t have words anymore, really this is incredible. I want to dedicate this award to Latin America because it taught me how to write this song, from Tijuana to Calafate. Cheers to a united Latin America.”
Other Shure endorsers who won awards on the night included, Zoé of Mexico and Maná who each took two Latin GRAMMYs. Of the awards they won, Maná won the Latin GRAMMY for Best Rock Album, and Zoé won for Best Rock Song. Aline Barros of Brazil won the Latin GRAMMY for Best Christian Album (Portuguese).
Another highlight of the night was that Shure’s newest wireless system Axient hit the stage for performances with Shakira, Wisin and Yandel featuring Sean Kingston, Romeo Santos and Usher as well as Pepe Aguilar and Reyli. The night was full of other great performances and Shure microphones and PSM systems were the choice for most of the performers to hit Latin music’s biggest stage.
For a complete list of winners visit http://latingrammy.com