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Latin 13/04/2006

Merengue Superstar Juan Luis Guerra Crowned BMI Icon At 13th Annual Latin Awards

MIAMI, FL. (Juan Luis Guerra Fans Website) - BMI, the leading U.S. performing right organization, staged the 13th edition of its Latin Music Awards tonight, with top honors reserved for Merengue artist Juan Luis Guerra, Colombian rocker Juanes, Big Brother theme song "Miedo," and Mexican music publisher SER-CA Publishing, Inc. Held for the first time in New York City at the Metropolitan Pavilion, the black-tie ceremony recognized the songwriters and publishers of the past year's 50 most performed Latin songs on American radio and television. The gala event was hosted by BMI President & CEO Del Bryant and Diane Almodovar, Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations, Miami.

Among the winners and special guests at the 2006 BMI Latin Awards were Don Omar, Luny Tunes, Beto y Sus Canarios, Sebastian Krys, Norgie Noriega, Los Tucanes De Tijuana's Mario Quintero, Ramón Orlando, Papi Sanchez, Clímax's Oskar Lobbo, Willie Colón, KC Porter, Pepe Garza, Don Cheto, Game G, Larry Harlow, DJ Blass, Francisco Casanova, N.O.R.E., Javier Garcia, Fato, Boy Wonder, Liza Quin, Chichi Peralta, Jellybean Benitez, Johnny Pacheco, and many more.

But the spotlight was on Grammy Award-winning artist Juan Luis Guerra, who was named a BMI Icon for his "unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers." The Icon presentation featured an all-star musical salute that brought down the house, with performances by India, Jandy Feliz, Jose "El Canario" Alberto, Huey Dunbar, Isidro Infante and his "All-Star Band," and 440's Adalgisa Pantaleón and Chocolate.

Named BMI's 1995 Latin Songwriter of the Year, Guerra's blend of traditional tropical music, merengue rhythms and lyrical romanticism has produced such celebrated songs as "Para Tí" and "Las Avispas," two of the night's Latin Award-winning songs, as well as "Viviré," "Bachata Rosa," "Burbujas de Amor" and "Estrellitas y Duendes." With a list of accolades that now includes six Grammys, numerous Univision awards, six Billboard Latin Music Awards and 14 BMI Latin Awards, his songs have been recorded by international Latin stars Luis Miguel, Emmanuel and others. A passionate philanthropist, Guerra's Fundación 440 has been providing medical assistance to the disadvantaged in his beloved homeland of the Dominican Republic since its creation in 1991.

Twelve-time Latin Grammy winner Juanes added BMI Latin Songwriter of the Year to his extensive inventory of awards by penning three songs on the top 50 list: "La Camisa Negra," "Nada Valgo Sin Tu Amor" and Volverte A Ver." This trio of hits pushes the Colombian rocker's BMI Awards total over 10 and includes last year's Song of the Year win for his Nelly Furtado duet, "Fotografía." Named one of Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World" in 2005, the Spanish-only singer has sold more than 10 million albums worldwide.

"Miedo" ("Afraid"), written by Enrique "Fato" Guzmán Yáñez (SACM) and published by Vander America Music, was named Latin Song of the Year for scoring the most airplay of any song on the most performed list. This is the second BMI Latin Award for Fato, whose "alternative mariachi" style mixes Latin pop and traditional Mexican music. Recorded by Latin Grammy-nominated Regional Mexican star Pepe Aguilar, the Big Brother theme song topped Billboard's Hot Latin Tracks chart in 2005 and was number one in Mexico for four consecutive months.

SER-CA Publishing, Inc. earned the Publisher of the Year trophy for the second year in a row with five titles on the list of 50, giving the Monterrey, Mexico-based publisher the highest percentage of ownership of Latin Award songs. Founded more than four decades ago by Don Servando Cano, the company focuses on Regional Mexican artists like Intocable, Bronco El Gigante de America, Grupo Pesado and others.

In addition to Juanes and Guerra, songwriters Cruz Martinez and Julieta Venegas (SGAE) scored multiple awards, as did publishers Cibao Music Company, CKJointz Music, Editora Arpa Musical, EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc., Ensign Music LLC, Foreign Imported Productions and Publishing, Inc., Kike Santander Music LLC/Santander Songs, peermusic (Peer International Corp./peermusic III, Ltd.), Songs of Camaleon, Universal-Música Unica Publishing, Vander America Music and Warner/Chappell Music Group (Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. and Rightsong Music, Inc.).

Another of the evening's highlights was the presentation of the BMI Foundation's third annual peermusic Latin Scholarship to Berklee College of Music student Marco Godoy. The 23-year-old Venezuelan songwriter, who also won the prestigious honor in 2004, reclaimed the title and took home a $5,000 scholarship for his song "Para Mi Eres Todo," sharing the stage with some of the biggest names in Latin music. Established by the BMI Foundation and funded by the generosity of the peermusic publishing companies, the scholarship is awarded annually through a competition for original Latin songs and instrumental compositions.

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