AFP

LAS VEGAS

Late guitar great Paco de Lucia and superstar Enrique Iglesias won top prizes Thursday at the Latin Grammys, which took a political edge as artists cheered President Barack Obama’s plan to help immigrants.

The top award night for the Spanish- and Portuguese-language music industry paid homage to De Lucia, a Spanish legend of the flamenco guitar, who died in February at age 66. De Lucia posthumously won Album of the Year for ‘Cancion Andaluza,’ which also was declared Best Flamenco Album. De Lucia’s widow said that the album was a passion for De Lucia, who dedicated the last months of his life to it.

Iglesias, who has built a fan base cross language lines through his crossover pop, won three awards including Song of the Year with the Cuban artists Descemer Bueno and Gente de Zona for their collaboration ‘Bailando’ (‘Dancing’). The three artists, who did not attend the ceremony in Las Vegas, dedicated the award to the Cuban people in a video message.

Uruguayan singer Jorge Drexler expressed ‘massive surprise’ as he won the prestigious Record of the Year for ‘Universos Paralelos,’ a Colombian-inspired song. He dedicated the award both to Colombia and his grandfather. The Latin Grammys came with an unexpected political undertone as Obama delivered a national address on immigration just as the ceremony was set to begin.

The audience at the Mandalay Bay arena watched on a giant screen as Obama, who flies to Las Vegas on Friday, announced plans to protect some five million undocumented migrants from deportation. While main US television networks declined to air Obama’s speech, Spanish-language broadcaster Univision delayed its broadcast of the Latin Grammys to US East Coast viewers to show first the president’s remarks.

Carlos Vives dedicated his Latin Grammy for Best Contemporary Tropical Album to Obama, who won two elections with strong support from US Latinos but faces heated political opposition over his unilateral move. ‘I’ve never heard any United States president speak about our Latinos as Obama has,’ said Vives, who is Colombian. The New York-born Puerto Rican superstar Marc Anthony also paid a nod to Obama as he voiced surprise at winning the Latin Grammy for Best Salsa Album.