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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 September, 2003, 06:30 GMT 07:30 UK
Juanes rules Latin Grammys
Juanes won all the groups in which he had been nominated
Colombian singer-songwriter Juanes has triumphed at the Latin Grammy awards in Miami by taking five trophies.

Juanes, who had been nominated in five categories, won record of the year and song of the year for Es Por Ti (It's for you), album of the year and best rock solo vocal album for Un Dia Normal (A normal day) and best rock song for Mala Gente (Bad People).

Best New Artist: David Bisbal
Best Rock Solo Vocal Album: Un dia normal (A Normal Day) - Juanes
Best Rock Song: Mala gente (Bad People) - Juanes
Song of the Year: Es por ti (It Is For You) - Juanes
Best Traditional Tropical Album: Buenos hermanos (Good Brothers) - Ibrahim Ferrer

"It's the most impressive day of my life," said the singer who wore a black T-shirt that read "Se habla espanol" (Spanish spoken).

He added that he was proud to represent his country: "I know a lot of times, people have a bad image of my country. That's why it's so important for me to be here, to represent the other side of Colombia."

The awards show - set-up in 1999 in recognition of the growing global popularity of South-American-influenced music - also included a tribute to the late Cuban-born singer Celia Cruz.

Top music stars, including Marc Anthony, Gloria Estefan and India, commemorated Cruz by singing some of her greatest hits, including one of her signature tunes, La vida Es Un Carnaval (Life is a Carnival).

The 4th annual Latin Grammys in Miami, Florida
Stars paid tribute to Celia Cruz

Other winners on the night included Spanish TV talent show runner-up David Bisbal who was named best new artist.

Enrique Iglesias walked away with the award for best male pop vocal album for Quizas (Perhaps) while Olga Tanon won the equivalent female title for Sobrevivir (Survive).

Miami-based multinational band Bacilos won best pop album by a group for Caraluna. They also took the award for the best tropical song for Mi Primer Million (My First Million).

Cuban act Orishas won best hip-hop album, while Ibrahim Ferrer, best known as a member of Buena Vista Social Club, won for best traditional tropical album.

Jorge Villamizar of Bacilos, who won the Best Tropical Song award, told the BBC's World Today programme: "Latin music has been very stale - the pop world in Latin music is usually made up of recycled concepts of the Anglo world.

"We're doing something different - we're really paying attention to our roots and trying to hear our own voices."

Visa row

The event was hosted by Mexican-born TV comedian George Lopez, who kept spirits high at the event, where preparations had been marred by controversy.

The Cuban Government accused the US of deliberately delaying visas to stop Cuban nominees attending the award ceremony.

Spanish Pop Idol winner David Bisbal
Spanish talent show runner-up David Bisbal was named best new artist

None of the Cuba-based artists were able to attend the show, as they failed to get visas to travel to Miami.

The US state department says the Cuban Grammy nominees all submitted their visa applications far too late for the obligatory screening process to be completed.

But the Cuban Government says US politics - not red tape - is behind the delay, and that the US Government acceded to the demands of those Cuban exiles in Miami who are fiercely opposed to Fidel Castro and anyone who has anything to do with him.

In 2002, disagreements with Cuba's exile community led to the awards being held in Los Angeles, while in 2001 they were cancelled because of the 11 September attack on the US.

The awards had been moved to Miami, home of the US Cuban community, that year.

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