It’s a Gran prize for Cuco Valoy…
The 80-year-old Dominican singer-songwriter has received the Gran Soberano award, the top arts prize at the Dominican Republic’s Premios Soberanos.
Valoy was given the honor during a show featuring an opening performance by Juan Luis Guerra and “Merengue King” Johnny Ventura.
Valoy, who has been performing and recording for half a century, said he was dedicating the award to Los Virtuosos, the band that accompanied him early in his career, when he was a pioneer in taking Dominican music to Europe, “where few knew where our country is located.”
Earlier in the show, the legendary singer-songwriter was honored with a performance by his son, Ramon Orlando, singer Henry Garcia and popular urban music act Mozart La Para, who joined in interpreting “Juliana,” one of Valoy’s hits.
Guerra and Ventura were joined on stage by dozens of dancers, with the performance climaxing with everyone simulating Dominican pitcher Fernando Rodney throwing an imaginary strike, a gesture that became popular in the country when the Dominican Republic won the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Guerra also received an award in the category of most prominent artist or group abroad.
Puerto Rican reggaeton singer Wisin performed his hit, “Vacaciones,” and received huge applause from the audience when he received the Soberano International Prize.
The audience at Santo Domingo’s Eduardo Brito National Theater also enjoyed a performance by some members of the disbanded La Coco Band orchestra, founded about 30 years ago, which revolutionized merengue with contagious rhythm and simple lyrics.
Bachata artist Leonardo Paniagua, honored at the show for his long career, recalled the early days of the style, when it was difficult for him to be accepted on major stages.