Posts Tagged ‘Grammy’

PostHeaderIcon Musing over Hawaiian Music in the Grammy Nominations for 2011

Click here to go to the Recording Academyʻs website where a pdf file of the complete list of nominations is posted.

The web has been a-buzz over the Grammy nominations, which were announced last Wednesday Nov. 30. Many folks–fans and industry professionals alike–were curious to see what things were going to look like in the wake of last Aprilʻs radical restructuring of all of the categories. Hawaiian music was one of those categories collapsed into the broader category named “Best Regional Roots Album” within the field named “American Roots,” and this year is competing with other musics like polka, Cajun, Zydeco, Native American, and others that apparently do not fall into any other more specific category like “blues.”

The nominees in the “Best Regional Roots Music Album” are:

  1. C. J. Chenier, Canʻt Sit Down.
  2. George Kahumoku, Jr, Wao Akua – The Forest of the Gods.
  3. Rebirth Brass Band, Rebirth of New Orleans.
  4. Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys, Grand Isle.
  5. Jimmy Sturr & His Orchestra, Not Just Another Polka.

First observations:

  1. Hawaiian music was not completely shut out of nominations.
  2. Native American music submissions failed to garner any nominations.
  3. Three of the five submissions are musics whose geographic center is New Orleans.

Congratulations to George Kahumoku, Jr. Already a Grammy Award winner as a co-producer of four slack key compilations from the “Slack Key Masters” concert series he produces, this is his first nomination as an artist.

Hawaiian music also made an appearance in another category. In “Best Pop Instrumental Album”–one of the categories in the extremely crowded Pop Music field–is a nomination for Daniel Hoʻs solo piano album, E Kahe Mālie. Because that album contains pianistic interpretations of classic Hawaiian songs, it was originally submitted to the “Best Regional Roots Music” category. At some point in the verification process, it got moved to the “Best Pop Instrumental” category, where it earned its nomination. How about that!! Hawaiian music rises to mainstream recognition in one of the mainstream categories!! Congratulations to Daniel Ho, whose perseverance and commitment to artistry is continuing to take Hawaiian music to new audiences.

As much as there is to celebrate in this news, there is without a doubt many Hawaiian musicians and fans who are pissed off because their favorites have failed once again to garner recognition in this broader national area. So there are comments posted on bulletin boards, blogs, and FaceBook walls again to the effect of insisting that Hawai’iʻs Nā Hōkū Hanohano awards are a true reflection of those who know Hawaiian music. (Many folks do not realize that the requirement of Hawaii residency in many Hōkū categories excludes the work of many artists who work on Hawaiian music outside Hawaiʻi. HARA has instituted one new “international” category that will go into effect this year.)

One has to wonder about The Recording Academyʻs structure that places Hawaiian music in direct competition with polka, Cajun, Zydeco, and funk-jazz brass band musics, AND mainstream pop music.

Personally, I marvel at the fact that Hawaiian music has not disappeared entirely off the Grammy radar, even without a dedicated category. Naysayers will certainly trumpet up assertions that the Grammy nominations and awards are about popularity, marketing, and networking. Such charges are ill-informed and even disrespectful of many voting members in the Recording Academy, whose votes do represent the assessment of artistic and technical merit by professional peers in the music industry.

Disclaimer:  I am a voting member of both the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (“The Recording Academy”), and the Hawaiʻi Academy of Recording Arts (“HARA”). My eligibility for membership is based on production, co-production, and liner notes credits for eight recordings on three different record labels.)


Hawaiian Music for Listening Pleasure

PostHeaderIcon Hawaiian Music Submissions to the Grammy Awards for 2011

In a sweeping restructuring of categories announced back in April 2011, The Recording Academy will no longer recognize Hawaiian music with its own category. Rather, Hawaiian music is incorporated into a new and broader category named “Best Regional Roots Music” within the “American Roots Music Field.”

The call for submission of eligible products is issued mid-summer, and all recordings whose eligibility is verified by The Recording Academy go onto a Preliminary Ballot. The top 5 vote-getters within each category are designated “GRAMMY Nominees.” A second voting period takes place, out of which the winners are announced at the February awards program.

The results of the preliminary voting will be announced this week. For those curious, there were 55 albums in the “Best Regional Roots Music” category. The following 13 were the Hawaiian music albums included on the preliminary ballot:

  1. Ahumanu, No Ku‘uipo
  2. Kawika Alfiche, Kale‘a
  3. Robert Cazimero, Hula
  4. Hi‘ikua, Aia i Hi‘ialo
  5. Kuana Torres Kahele, Kaunaloa 
  6. George Kahumoku, Jr., Wao Akua — The Forest of the Gods
  7. John Keawe, Play With Me Papa
  8. Mailani, ‘Aina”   [e kala mai the absence of kahakō over the capital "A"]
  9. Kenneth Makuakane, Kawaipono
  10. Doug & Sandy McMaster, In My Heart
  11. Various Artists, A Tribute to Nā Lani ‘Ehā
  12. Various Artists, Nā Haku Mele o Hawai‘i 
  13. Various Artists, Wahine

Collectively this is a strong set of products. There is a mixture here of CDs that focus on new versions of old songs, as well as CDs that introduce newly-written material. Three CDs have prominent kī hō‘alu slack key content. All vocal CDs contain predominantly Hawaiian-language songs. Happily the 13 submissions span four islands–Hawai‘i, Kaua‘i, Maui and O‘ahu–as well as San Francsisco. E ō!


Hawaiian Music for Listening Pleasure

PostHeaderIcon 2010 Grammy Entries

Here is a list of those CDs entered in the Hawaiian Album category for the 2010 Grammys. Good luck to all most of the entries.

  1. Aloha Pumehana, Darlene Ahuna
  2. Papaku Bring It Home, Faith Thompson Ako
  3. Aloha ‘Anianiau Leilani Rivera Bond
  4. Hawaiian Man, Brother Noland
  5. He Nani, Tia Carrere & Daniel Ho
  6. Somewhere, Danny Carvalho
  7. Friends & Family Of Hawai‘i, Amy Hānaiali‘i
  8. Ho‘ōla I Ka Poli, Kawaikapuokalani Hewett
  9. Nani Mau Loa, Ho‘okena
  10. Kani Wai – Sound Of Water, George Kahumoku, Jr. & Bob Brozman
  11. ‘Ī, Natalie Ai Kamau‘u
  12. Kaua‘i, Keli‘I Kaneali‘I
  13. Pili O Ke Ao, Kūpaoa
  14. Mailani, Mailani
  15. Venus, And The Sky Turns To Clay, Makana
  16. Solo ‘Ukulele Orchestrations, Gordon Mark
  17. From The Heart, Noly Pa‘a
  18. …With Aloha, Pali
  19. Nāpo’ona Mahina: The Illusion Of Reality, Aaron J. Salā
  20. Masters Of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Volume 2, Various Artists

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