New York, NY: Marco Antonio Solís and Joan Sebastian were named Songwriters of the Year at the 17th Annual ASCAP Latin Music Awards held tonight at The Ritz Carlton Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Ricardo Montaner, Luis Fonsi and Omar Alfanno received special ASCAP honors for career achievement; «Para Siempre» was named Latin Song of the Year; and Publisher of the Year honors went to Sony/ATV Music. The songwriters and publishers of ASCAP’s most performed songs in Latin Music in 2008 were also honored during the awards celebration.

Co-hosted by comedian Luis Raúl and TV personality Desireé Lowry, the awards ceremony is one of the most attended and celebrated events in the Latin entertainment community. Among the honorees, performers and luminaries present were: Adolfo Angel Alba (Temerarios), Omar Alfanno, Amerika, Wilfran Castillo, Jorge Celedón, Jesai Duarte, El Chaval de la Bachata, Luis Enrique, Luis Fonsi, Alejandra Guzmán, Juan José Hernández, Carlos Lara, Toby Love, Ismael Miranda, Ricardo Montaner, Roberto Sueiro and Wise.

Joan Sebastian and Marco Antonio Solís shared Songwriter of the Year honors. Both songwriters have received this coveted award multiple times in the past, and their wins this year are a testament to the enduring and universal qualities of their musical gifts.

Joan Sebastian was born in the town of Julianita of Sierra Guerrero in Mexico. During his early musical career, he blossomed as both a songwriter and a performer. In 2000, ASCAP honored Sebastian with its «Silver Pen Award» recognizing 35 years of song crafting. The most recent works of this Grammy Award winner include: «Secreto de Amor», «Un Idiota» and «Amorcito Mio». His music has been performed by such notable artists as Rocio Durcal, Lucero, Banda Cachorros and Graciela Beltran, among others.

Marco Antonio Solís is one of the most influential singer-songwriters in Latin America. His music remains as original today as it did when he first began burning up the charts, a feat he achieves by producing music that transcends trends and generation gaps, simply by following his own creative vision. He started 2008 with a huge bang winning the Songwriter of the Year Award at the Billboard Latin Awards and having 4 songs at the same time on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart, including the #1 slot.

The evening was highlighted with special presentations to three of the finest and most successful Latin songwriters of our time – Ricardo Montaner, Luis Fonsi and Omar Alfanno.

Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe winning Hall of Fame songwriter and Vice Chairman of the ASCAP Board of Directors Paul Williams presented ASCAP’s Latin Heritage Award to Ricardo Montaner in recognition of his unique and enduring contributions to Latin music, and ASCAP’s Voice of Music Award to Luis Fonsi for illuminating people’s lives through song.

Past recipients of ASCAP’s Latin Heritage Award include Antonio Aguilar, Celia Cruz, Ednita Nazario, Franco de Vita, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Olga Tañón and Ricardo Arjona. Past recipients of ASCAP’s Voice of Music Award include Mary J. Blige, Jimmy Webb, Kenny Chesney, Amy Grant, George Strait, Diane Warren and Garth Brooks.

Longtime friend and advisor Roberto Sueiro, Nicaraguan salsa singer Luis Enrique and ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento presented songwriter/producer Omar Alfanno with ASCAP’s Golden Note Award in recognition of his extraordinary songs which have enriched Latin music worldwide for three decades. Garth Brooks, Joan Sebastian, Jose Feliciano, Quincy Jones, Sean «Diddy» Combs, Stevie Wonder, Tom Petty and Victor Manuelle are among ASCAP’s G

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