With buoyant force and a vivacious spirit, Carlos Vives opened up his all-hit medley performance with the Rafael Escalona original “Mala Suerte” and his own timeless “La Gota Fría” at the 2023 Latin AMAs. He was backed by a riveting accordionist and a vibrant rhythm section.
Mexican sibling duo Jesse & Joy soon joined the legend to sing “La Tierra del Olvido,” then husband-and-wife couple Guaynaa and Lele Pons shared their vocals on “Volví a Nacer.” Emilia and Ryan Castro also provided spirited pipes on “Robarte Un Beso.” Emilia is one of Billboard Español’s first annual Latin Women in Music honorees. The all-star cast of Latin performers channeled the joyous and contagious happiness that Carlos Vives is known for.
Earlier that evening, Vives accepted his Legend award in honor of his 30-year legacy, since releasing the revolutionary Clásicos de la Provincia in 1993, a groundbreaking sound that immortalized Colombian vallenato beyond its borders.
“Thirty years ago music showed me two paths: to copy the genres that were successful at the time [or] to transform the music of my land, feel proud to be Colombian, and give our music the level it deserved,” he said. “That’s what I’ve been doing for the last 30 years, carrying that message.”
On Wednesday, Vives released a heartfelt ode to the late, great Rafael Escalona on Escalona Nunca Se Había Grabado Así. Vives will premiere its accompanying documentary Regreso a Escalona on May 1 in Colombia and will arrive four days later in the U.S. at The Colombian Film Festival NY. The musician is also preparing for an upcoming international tour.
Nominations for the 2023 awards — based on streaming, sales, radio airplay, tours and social media interactions data provided by Billboard and Luminate during the eligibility period (Feb. 12, 2022, through Feb. 4, 2023) — are led by Bad Bunny with 11 nominations. He’s followed by Becky G and Daddy Yankee, each with nine nominations. For the first time since its debut on Oct. 8, 2015, the ceremony — which is taking place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas — will be broadcast live simultaneously on Univision, UNIMÁS, and Galavisión.