2 x Grammy, 12x Latin Grammy winning recording artist/producer Carlos Vives was awarded a Master of Latin Music degree by the prestigious Berklee College of Music at a ceremony at the GML Auditorio (Gaira Music Local, Vives’ venue) in Bogota, Colombia. The award was presented by Berklee president Roger Brown and was followed by a performance of music from Berklee students and Vives at the Julio Mario Santodomingo Theater. The Massachusetts-based Berklee College of Music is the largest private music college in the country and boasts a highly regarded Latin Music Studies program.
Vives was recognized for his significant contributions to music and society. “The music of Carlos Vives reflects a deep love of his native Colombia. Regardless of how modern or global the sounds and rhythms of his music are, there is always the Colombian flavor,” said President Brown in the presentation of the award to Vives. “Carlos is a charismatic and powerful performer who has endured as an artist because of his unique combination of energy and sensitivity. We are honored to present the Berklee Master of Latin Music Award to Carlos Vives.”
In receiving the honor, Vives said, “It was very gratifying to have Roger Brown and his team from Berklee surprise us with a visit to our home at Gaira Musica Local in Bogota and that they would recognize and be aware of the work that we do. I was so honored to have received a Master’s Degree in Latin Music. I am also very grateful to the community of teachers and students who invited me to make music with them. It was a unique and unforgettable experience!”
In 2013, the college launched its Master Musician Awards, an effort to celebrate the work of musicians through a series of specialized awards. The artists earned these honors not only by making great music, but by demonstrating the importance of following one’s personal vision and leading new generations of musicians into the future.
Past honorary doctorate recipients include Duke Ellington, Chucho Valdes, Juan Luis Guerra, Paco de Lucia, Aretha Franklin, Alejandro Sanz, Paul Simon, Sting, Gloria Estefan, and Willie Nelson (Vives is the second Colombian to receive this honor after Toto La Momposina.) Also at the event was Monica Giraldo, Colombian singer and a member of the Board of Directors of Berklee. During the musical performance, the student ensemble and Giraldo paid an emotional tribute to Vives’ musical legacy. He joined them in their performances of “Ella,” “Hijo del Vallenato” and “La Tierra del Olvido.”