Latin Recording Academy honors Estefan

First woman to receive Person of the Year nod

MIAMI -- Superstar Gloria Estefan was honored as the Latin Recording Academy's Person of the Year during a star-studded gala dinner at Houston's George R. Brown Convention Center.

Estefan, the first woman to receive the honor, spoke during Wednesday's event about music's ability to touch and change people's lives. "It's such a powerful force," she said.

Estefan's musical achievements for more than 30 years were celebrated with performances by a varied roster of acts -- most personal friends -- that included Carlos Santana, Patti LaBelle, John Legend, Jose Feliciano, Alexandre Pires, Gian Marco, Jon Secada, Luis Fonsi and Ednita Nazario. Musical accompaniment was by the Philharmonic of the Americas, conducted by Alondra de la Parra, and the Miami Sound Machine, Estefan's original band.

Newscaster Maria Elena Salinas and actor Andy Garcia hosted the event, with Garcia also picking up the congas for a few solos.

Following a rousing opening number by LaBelle, standouts included Marco's performance of "Mi Fotografia," a song he wrote for Estefan's album "Unwrapped." Brazil's Pires performed an acoustic version of "Santo," which he recorded as a duet with Estefan, and Estefan took the stage for "No Llores" -- "I still have to sing for my supper," she joked -- a single from her latest album, "90 Millas," which she performed with Santana and Feliciano, both guests on the album.

Mexico's Banda El Recodo performed earlier in the evening. Estefan's daughter Emily also contributed to the evening with electric-guitar and drum solos.