Cuban Ángela Álvarez, 95, won the Latin Grammy for Best New Artist and brought an auditorium packed with artists to tears this past Thursday in Las Vegas with her thank you message: “It’s never too late.” Álvarez conquered the coveted gramophone in a tie with the Mexican Silvana Estrada, praised for her heartbreaking album “Marchita”.
“To those who have dreams, although life is difficult, there is always a way out. And with faith and love, you can achieve it, I promise you,” said Álvarez, who climbed to the podium of the Michelob Ultra arena accompanied by her grandson, the composer Carlos Jose Alvarez. The US-based Cuban debuted before an audience in her late 90s, and is garnering plaudits with her first album, but her relationship with music dates back decades.
A prolonged dream
Her dream of becoming a singer, which began when she was a teenager in her native Cuba, was interrupted by family challenges, and then by the political and social situation in her country with the rise of Fidel Castro to power in the late 1950s.
Years after reestablishing herself with his family in the United States, her grandson decided to record his songs and produced the first musical work to be recognized by the Latin Recording Academy.
“I would like to thank the Academy and everyone who has helped me get to this moment,” said Álvarez, who read her speech on a small sheet of paper with a smile. The singer dedicated the gramophone to her family and to actor Andy Garcia, producer of “Miss Angela,” a documentary released last year about her life.
To my beloved homeland
Álvarez reserved a separate line for his grandson, who did not stop smiling at her side: “He was the one who helped me get here.” Finally, she dedicated the award to her country. “To my beloved homeland Cuba, which I will never be able to forget.”