ASCAP to Celebrate the 25th Annual ASCAP Latin Music Awards in Puerto Rico, Wednesday, March 15, 2017

December 15, 2016

(left: Vico C; right: El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico)

NEW YORK, Dec. 15, 2016: The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) announced today that it will celebrate the 25th annual ASCAP Latin Music Awards on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at the Vanderbilt Hotel in Condado, Puerto Rico.

This year marks El Premio ASCAP’s Gold anniversary awards dinner. To celebrate, ASCAP will honor salsa institution El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico withthe ASCAP Latin Heritage Award, in recognition of their unique and enduring contributions to Latin music. The performing rights organization will also present singer-songwriter and urban music pioneer Vico C with its prestigious ASCAP Vanguard Award, in recognition of his impact on new and developing musical genres that are shaping the future of music.

In addition, awards will be presented to the Songwriter of the Year, Singer/Songwriter of the Year, Publisher of the Year, Independent Publisher of the Year and the creators of the Latin Song of the Year. Top Latin songwriters and composers will also be recognized in the Pop, Tropical, Regional Mexican, Urban and Television categories. The evening will feature performances by some of Latin music's hottest stars.

Previous recipients of the ASCAP Latin Heritage Award include Ricardo Arjona, Celia Cruz, Franco De Vita, La Original Banda El Limón de Salvador Lizárraga, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Alejandro Sanz, Olga Tañón and the Fania All-Stars.

Previous ASCAP Vanguard Award honorees include Black:Guayaba, The All-American Rejects, Sara Bareilles, The Beastie Boys, Björk Taio Cruz, The Killers and Kendrick Lamar, among others.

El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico
Ever since El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico formed on May 26, 1962, by Rafael Ithier, it has maintained a consistent, classic, easily identifiable sound. The ground rules are clear: songs about daily life with straight-ahead, understandable dance arrangements; a good rhythm section with a strong sense of “clave;” good humor and good taste; and a roots-based approach to giving the public what it wants. For seven years the band was a daily presence on the air with 12 broadcasts a week while their hits dominated Puerto Rican radio. The music became a springboard that brought them to New York multiple times a year to play all across the Puerto Rican community — one of their biggest hits from that period, “Un Verano en Nueva York,” with a passionate vocal by Andy Montañez, is still heard all the time on New York salsa radio.

After some lineup changes, the group flourished with Charlie Aponte and Jerry Rivas as hard-dancing lead singers. The new lineup’s commercial explosion began in 1979, when every song on their album Aquí No Se Sienta Nadie became a hit. Their travel schedule became, and remains, intense. Every year they had a new album, and as the years rolled by, they built up an enormous songbook of hits – “Más Feo Que Yo,” “Brujería,” “Pico Pico,” “Timbalero,” “Ámame,” “Aguacero,” “La Loma del Tamarindo,” “Teléfono” and more. Their 1985 landmark Nuestra Música, which drew on Puerto Rico’s extensive Christmas tradition, became a Christmas perennial. They continued into the 1990s and beyond (with 1997’s “Que Me Lo Den en Vida” as a high point) before Ithier retired as the group’s pianist in 2006. With Willie Sotelo replacing him on piano, Ithier continued music-directing the group, and they’ve continued making radio hits, most notably the 2006 roots manifesto “Arroz Con Habichuelas” and 2010’s “Sin Salsa No Hay Paraíso.” Their album 50th Anniversary received a Grammy nomination in 2014 and in 2015 they received The Excellence Award by the Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. They have recorded a total of 67 albums including the most recent, Alunizando, in 2016.

Vico C
Nicknamed “The Philosopher,” born in New York and raised in Puerto Rico, Luis Armando Lozada Cruz adopted the professional name Vico C in his early life. Known as one of the founders of Spanish hip-hop and the Latin urban music movement, Vico C showed that it was possible to rap entirely and compellingly in Spanish using just occasional English phrases or slang terms, creating an entirely new musical genre known as Latin urban music.

The two-time Latin Grammy winner began his professional rapping career in 1985 and entered the music charts in 1989 with his song “La Recta Final.” US and Latin American tours followed its success. In 1992 his singles “Saboréalo” and “Maria” garnered him gold and platinum status, respectively.

After a voluntary semi-retirement, Vico C resurfaced in 1998 with the gold record Aquel Que Había Muerto and returned to the touring scene in 1999. That year he received a Billboard Award for Latin Rap Album of the Year. To date, he has a total of 21 studio albums and two live albums: En Coma (1983), De La Calle (1984), Underground (1985), Underground Version (1986), Cosa Nuestra del Barrio (1987), Soy de la Calle (1988), Sin Piedad (1989), El Amor Existe (1989), El Filosofo (1989), La Recta Final (1990), Mision La Cima (1991), Hispanic Soul (1992), Xplosion (1993), Con Poder (1996), Con Poder - Special Edition (1997), Aquel Que Había Muerto (1998), Emboscada (2002), En Honor a la Verdad (2003), Desahogo (2005), Babilla (2009), Vivo (2001) and El Encuentro (2006). He most recently announced the release of a new biopic to be released in 2017.

Other music collaborations include singles with salsa superstar Gilberto Santa Rosa, international reggae act Cultura Profética, Jarabe de Palo, Sin Bandera, Alejandra Guzman and Lapiz Conciente, among others.

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. ASCAP's mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances. ASCAP members write the world's best-loved music and ASCAP has pioneered the efficient licensing of that music to hundreds of thousands of enterprises who use it to add value to their business - from bars, restaurants and retail, to radio, TV and cable, to Internet, mobile services and more. The ASCAP license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly. With 800,000 members representing more than 10 million copyrighted works, ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service and advocacy for songwriters and composers, and the only American performing rights organization (PRO) owned and governed by its writer and publisher members. Learn more and stay in touch at, on Twitter @ASCAP and on Facebook.

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Media Contacts:
Blanca Lasalle – Creativelink
(212) 684-6001

Cathy Nevins – ASCAP