Gustavo Cerati wins early awards at Latin Grammys

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - The Latin Grammy awards kicked off in Las Vegas on Thursday, with Argentina’s Gustavo Cerati picking up early awards for best rock album and song.

Cerati, who has been in a coma since suffering a stroke earlier this year, has been a fixture in Latin music for decades. He fronted the popular rock band Soda Stereo in the 1980s and 90s before launching a solo career.

On Thursday, Cerati won the best rock album Latin Grammy for “Fuerza Natural” and best rock song award for “Deja Vu” during a pre-telecast ceremony in which 34 statues were handed out.

The award for best urban song went to Spanish hip-hop singer Mala Rodriguez for “No Pidas Perdon.” Rodriguez is also nominated for best urban album for “Dirty Bailarina.”

Several elder statesman of Latin music picked up key awards, including Panamanian salsa singer Ruben Blades for best singer-songwriter album with “Cantares del Subdesarrollo,” Brazilian singer Gilberto Gil took home best MPB (musica popular brasileira) album for ” Banda Dois” and best native Brazilian roots album for “Fe Na Festa.”

Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval won best instrumental album for “A Time For Love.”

The night’s biggest awards, for categories like record of the year and best new artist, will be revealed during a live broadcast on the Spanish language Univision Network Thursday night.

Spaniard Alejandro Sanz, Uruguay’s Jorge Drexler, and Mexican trio Camila are among the contenders in several of the key categories.

The Latin Recording Academy recognizes music released anywhere in the world under the condition that they were recorded in Spanish or Portuguese.

Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte