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Grammy nominations 2008: world, f*lk, blues

PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:27 am
by Ian A.
Just announced. The view from Murka. Compare and contrast . . . somewhat different to the view from here, not just the nominees but also, I suspect, what constitutes "traditional" and "contemporary".


Best Traditional World Music Album
Debashish Bhattacharya - Calcutta Chronicles: Indian Slide Guitar Odyssey [Riverboat Records/World Music Network]
Toumani Diabaté - The Mandé Variations [Nonesuch Records]
Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Ilembe: Honoring Shaka Zulu [Heads Up International]
Lakshmi Shankar - Dancing In The Light [World Village]

Best Contemporary World Music Album
Lila Downs - Shake Away [Manhattan Records/Blue Note]
Gilberto Gil - Banda Larga Cordel [Warner Music Latina]
Mickey Hart, Zakir Hussain, Sikiru Adepoju & Giovanni Hidalgo - Global Drum Project [Shout! Factory]
Youssou N'Dour - Rokku Mi Rokka (Give And Take) [Nonesuch Records]
Soweto Gospel Choir - Live At The Nelson Mandela Theater [Shanachie Entertainment]

Best Traditional Folk Album
Kathy Mattea - Coal [Captain Potato Records]
Tom Paxton -Comedians & Angels [Appleseed Recordings]
Peggy Seeger- Bring Me Home [Appleseed Recordings]
Pete Seeger - At 89 [Appleseed Recordings]
Rosalie Sorrels - Strangers In Another Country [Red House Records]

Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album
Joan Baez - Day After Tomorrow [Bobolink/Razor & Tie]
Ry Cooder - I, Flathead [Nonesuch Records]
Rodney Crowell - Sex & Gasoline [Work Song/Yep Roc Records]
Emmylou Harris - All I Intended To Be [Nonesuch Records]
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand [Rounder Records]

Best Traditional Blues Album
Elvin Bishop - The Blues Rolls On [Delta Groove Music, Inc.]
Buddy Guy - Skin Deep [Silvertone Records]
John Lee Hooker Jr. - All Odds Against Me [Steppin' Stone Records/CC Entertainment]
B.B. King - One Kind Favor [Geffen Records]
Pinetop Perkins & Friends - Pinetop Perkins & Friends [Stoneagle Music/Telarc]

Best Contemporary Blues Album
Marcia Ball - Peace, Love & BBQ [Alligator Records]
Solomon Burke - Like A Fire [Shout! Factory]
Dr. John And The Lower 911- City That Care Forgot [429 Records]
Taj Mahal - Maestro [Heads Up International]
Irma Thomas - Simply Grand [Rounder Records]

PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 1:11 pm
by NormanD
I'm curious about the Grammy nomination process. Is it similar to the Academy Awards (Oscars) with all industry personnel being entitled to vote? Who actually gets a vote? Does a Grammy Awards group draw up an initial long-list that the voters can choose from?

The large number of old-timers really stands out, doesn't it? Particularly in the "traditional folk" category: Pete Seeger (industry conscience at work here?), sister Peggy (good to see her back), Tom Paxton (over 45 years as a public performer). Kathy Mattea is maybe the youngest, and I'd have called her 'country' rather than 'folk', but what do I know? Or they, for that matter.

Both the contemporary and traditional blues nominations are dominated by performers who have been recording for at least 45 years, longer in some cases. Marcia Ball is probably the relative newcomer. No, I just spotted that John Lee Hooker is actually Jnr, the heir apparent and new kid on the block.

As for the world nominations.....so different from our own (ie fROOTS, Songlines, the lists here) which are much more adventurous and musically-challenging. The Grammy noms also seem much more radio-friendly - if there were a radio that consistently played them, that is.

And is Lakshmi Shankar the same fiddle player who recorded with Zappa about 25 years back, then moved into ECM-type jazz?

PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 1:45 pm
by Ian A.
NormanD wrote:I'm curious about the Grammy nomination process. Is it similar to the Academy Awards (Oscars) with all industry personnel being entitled to vote? Who actually gets a vote? Does a Grammy Awards group draw up an initial long-list that the voters can choose from?

I may be wrong, but I believe that - like the Mercurys - records have to be "entered" by the labels, though I have no idea if this costs money. I also believe there are sub-committees who decide stuff in the "specialist" categories - I'll put a Q on the Folk Alliance world music list where people like that hang out and report back . . .

PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 1:53 pm
by joel
Very nice to see Lakshmi Shankar at least nominated for a prize. That's more than she'd get in ingerrland.

PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 2:59 pm
by Rob Hall
The Grammy awards have their own website - www.grammy.com - which has an FAQ page to answer all your questions.

PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 9:04 pm
by Ian A.
I. wrote:I may be wrong, but I believe that - like the Mercurys - records have to be "entered" by the labels, though I have no idea if this costs money. I also believe there are sub-committees who decide stuff in the "specialist" categories - I'll put a Q on the Folk Alliance world music list where people like that hang out and report back . . .


Well I did, and I asked a question about the UK-not-allowed rule as well but nobody answered that (yet). Most useful answer so far was from the excellent Jayme Stone, Canadian banjo man whose record Africa To Appalachia with Malian kora player/ singer Mansa Sissoko hereby gets a free plug for being excellent (they're touring UK in January b.t.w.) Jayme said:

albums that have been commercially released in the US in the last year eligible.  they must be entered but there is no fee.  once albums are entered, they are screened by an independent committee to make sure they are in the correct category.  they then appear on the nominations ballot that gets sent to voting members of the grammy foundation.

voting members need to have had a creative or production role on at least six songs of recorded music commercially released in the US.  it costs $100 a year to keep your membership active.  i believe there are around 12,000 members.

members are allowed to vote in eight fields plus song and album of the year.  a field is a genre so if you choose world music, that's a vote in the two world music categories.  if you choose country there are many more categories.

what is odd to me is that there are no online links on the ballot to listen to any of the music.  which essentially means that you must already have heard (and heard of) the music.  i would guess that this is why it's more of a popularity contest than anything.

hope that helps!  it's a strange process and i just learned about this year.

PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 9:54 pm
by NormanD
Thanks Ian, and Rob. It is useful to learn a bit about the actual process, who is involved, and how, and how some of the potential nominees might feel about it.

I'm still baffled at the result for the best "World" album a couple of years ago: "Wonder Wheel" by The Klezmatics. An American nu-klezmer band, with an album of 'new' Woody Guthrie songs, sung in English, largely in a non-klez style. As much as I loved that album......"World"??!? And I still don't think it even got a wide release here, which says a lot to me about the international impact or status of being a Grammy winner.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 1:46 am
by Jonathan E.
While it's true that winning a Grammy can add substantially to sales at least in the US, ultimately I think the Grammys are a complete fucking joke as far as being any sort of serious honoring of musical creativity. The World awards, and just about any other interesting genre, don't even make it to the televised event, which consists of endless lame-o rappers pretending to be gangsters along with bleached-out country women acting like hookers and aged rockers trying to remember how to strut their stuff. It is truly an utterly appalling two or three hours of television. But, worse, is the whole atmosphere of utter ignorance and incompetence that surrounds the world music section in particular. It seems to me to have nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with anything approaching even a modicum of what might really be the "best" world music album. I suspect other enthusiasts in other "minority" genres, such as jazz, feel the same way.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 11:21 am
by Mavo Solomon
It is nice to know that MOST musicians do not write/sing for award ceremonies.

I am mindful of the fact that Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the Soweto Gospel Choir are Award specialists at the Grammy's, and a brilliant musician like the Cameroonian bassist/singer/songwriter, Richard Bona has yet to be acknowledged.

even i as a South African do not pay much attention to such nominations and their results.

Dikela

Jonathan E. wrote:While it's true that winning a Grammy can add substantially to sales at least in the US, ultimately I think the Grammys are a complete fucking joke as far as being any sort of serious honoring of musical creativity. The World awards, and just about any other interesting genre, don't even make it to the televised event, which consists of endless lame-o rappers pretending to be gangsters along with bleached-out country women acting like hookers and aged rockers trying to remember how to strut their stuff. It is truly an utterly appalling two or three hours of television. But, worse, is the whole atmosphere of utter ignorance and incompetence that surrounds the world music section in particular. It seems to me to have nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with anything approaching even a modicum of what might really be the "best" world music album. I suspect other enthusiasts in other "minority" genres, such as jazz, feel the same way.

Grammy Nominations

PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 12:49 pm
by Simon Broughton
Is Lakshmi Shankar the same one as recorded with Frank Zappa? Absolutely not. L Shankar was (still is) a South Indian violinist whose first album was produced by Zappa, he worked with John McLaughlan in Shakti and worked with Peter Gabriel several times. But Lakshmi Shankar is one of India's veteran vocalists - sister in law of Ravi Shankar. Jameela Siddiqi reviewed her album (which has now got a Grammy nomination) in Songlines #54. It's a great recording and was a possible Top of the World, but I felt was of more specialist interest. She's a very great artist in her 80s, she won't win, but good to see her recognised.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 5:27 pm
by Jonathan E.
I didn't mean to leave the impression that I think that none of the musicians picked up by the Grammy's have any value. What I mean is that the process of picking and judging them is so arcane and haphazard (and done by such a small pool of people not necessarily with a broad range of knowledge) that the Grammy's do not produce an accurate or viable picture of the state of world music. For the broader picture, either fRoots or Songlines are far superior.

Re: Grammy Nominations

PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 6:50 pm
by NormanD
Simon Broughton wrote:Is Lakshmi Shankar the same one as recorded with Frank Zappa? Absolutely not.
Thanks for clearing this up, Simon. I could have looked it up initially, but your contribution is preferable.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 10:57 pm
by Dayna
There's a Myspace bulletin that says Diabate has been nomintaed for a Grammy. Hope he gets it. I haven't been very interested in these for a long time but maybe there are a few people that know something.

Grammy Nominations

PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 9:50 pm
by Simon Broughton
I think the whole Grammy system is so skewed - both the categories and nominations - that I'm not surprised that winning one doesn't count for much - except to the winner (and their record companies etc) of course. I think the fact that those of us who are familiar with these recordings and artists are also puzzled says something too.

the Grammy's do not produce an accurate or viable picture of the state of world music.


I think what Jonathan E says is correct and thanks for endorsing the picture that SL and FR bring. Although there's no doubt that whoever wins the Grammy does get a decent push above the parapet.

PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 3:12 am
by Nigel w
The one think I like about the Grammy world music nominations is that the shortlist always seems to give balanced representation to albums from parts of the world that have seldom if ever made the shortlist of the nearest equivelent UK-based award - Brazil, India, South Africa etc.

I know there is an issue about them excluding British folk music (presumably because there are seperate Grammy folk awards). But if sticking Jim Moray, Bellowhead etc in a different award category is the price of allowing more oxygen to music from other parts of the world, then I can live with it...