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Juanes Wins Latin Grammys for Colombia

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Colombian singer-songwriter Juanes was showered with five Latin Grammys at Wednesday night’s ceremony in Miami, which also paid tribute to late salsa legend Celia Cruz with performances by Marc Anthony, Gloria Estefan and others.

Among his wins, Juanes took home awards for album of the year for his best-selling “Un Dia Normal” (translated: “A Normal Day,” which spent a record 65 weeks on the Billboard Latin charts). He also was cited for record and song of the year for “Es Por Ti” (“It’s For You”), the Associated Press reports.

“I never thought that this was going to happen to me,” Juanes said. “Three years ago I was lost completely in Los Angeles.”

He also said he hoped his win would help people look at his homeland in a new light. “I know a lot of times, people have a bad image of my country,” he said. “That’s why it’s so important for me to be here, to represent the other side of Colombia.”

The highlight of the evening was the Cruz tribute, which concluded with her trademark cry of “Azucar!” The 78-year-old Queen of Salsa, who won an award at the Latin Grammys last year, died of a brain tumor in July. Her husband, trumpeter Pedro Knight, watched the tribute from the audience inside the American Airlines Arena.

Gustavo Santaolalla, who produced Juanes’s record, was a triple winner (two awards for record and album of the year and another award for arranging and producing “Bajofondo Tango Club,” the best pop instrumental album).

Other winners included Spanish singer David Bisbal, who burst on the scene with his album “Corazon Latino” after winning the Spanish equivalent of TV’s “American Idol.” He won for best new artist in a minor upset over Lafourcade.