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The 22nd annual Latin Grammys were held in Las Vegas

NOEL KING, HOST:

The 22nd annual Latin Grammys were held in Las Vegas last night. It's usually the biggest night for Latin pop music. This year, there were some politics mixed in. Here's Felix Contreras from NPR Music.

FELIX CONTRERAS, BYLINE: The headline this year is that the overtly political message of the song "Patria Y Vida" was popular enough among Latin Grammy voters to actually win what many consider the top spot - song of the year.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PATRIA Y VIDA")

GENTE DE ZONA, YOTUEL ROMERO AND DESCEMER BUENO: (Singing in Spanish).

CONTRERAS: The track was a collaboration between Cuban musicians on and off the island. Yotuel, Gente De Zona and Descemer Bueno. It was widely interpreted as a direct challenge to the Cuban government, with their lyrics demanding an end to dictatorial rule. It was released in early 2021, but it became a soundtrack to anti-government protests in July.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "NOMINAO")

C TANGANA: (Singing in Spanish).

CONTRERAS: Spain's C. Tangana was rewarded with two Latin Grammys for blending genres and styles on his album "El Madrileno."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "NOMINAO")

TANGANA: (Singing in Spanish).

CONTRERAS: But the Academy also recognized two musicians for doing what they do best. Brazilian icon Caetano Veloso, age 79, won record of the year while album of the year went to vocalist Ruben Blades, age 73. He was also recognized as the Academy's person of the year.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CONTRABANDO")

RUBEN BLADES: (Singing in Spanish).

CONTRERAS: Nothing came of a call for a boycott of the Latin Grammys called by Colombian reggaetonero J Balvin, who said the Academy doesn't give his genre its due. They did win some awards but none outside of the urban and hip-hop categories. There are 53 Latin Grammy categories. That includes music performed in Portuguese as well. The ceremonies were broadcast on the Univision television network.

Felix Contreras, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF RUBEN BLADES, ROBERTO DELGADO AND HIS ORCHESTRA SONG, "CONTRABANDO") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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