ANOTHER SLACK-KEY COMPILATION GETS THE GRAMMY
Producers Keoki Kahumoku, center, and Wayne Wong, right, accepted the Grammy award yesterday for best Hawaiian music album for "Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Volume 1" at the 48th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles as guitarist George Kahumoku, at left, looked on.
'Masters' of the Grammy
Hawaii's diverse nominees fill last night's lavish ceremony in Los Angeles with a feeling of ohana
It was, as baseball legend Yogi Berra would have put it, "deja vu all over again" at the Grammy Awards yesterday as "Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Volume 1" won in the best Hawaiian album category.
It is only the second year that a Grammy has been awarded in this category, and both times, a compilation of ki ho'alu has won -- "Slack Key Guitar Volume 2," produced by Big Island resident Charles Michael Brotman, won in 2005.
Another Hawaii nominee, singer-songwriter Jack Johnson, did not win in either of his categories -- best male pop vocal performance (for "Sitting, Waiting, Wishing") or best pop collaboration with vocals ("Gone Going" with the Black Eyed Peas). He was beaten out by, respectively, Stevie Wonder ("From the Bottom of My Heart") and the animated Gorillaz, featuring De La Soul, and their hit single "Feel Good Inc."
"I forgot I was on the album until they called me to take pictures. We didn't make it with my album, but we made it on the compilation, so everything's good."
Performed on Grammy-winning compilation
Daniel Ho, who produced the winning "Masters" album along with Paul Konwiser and Wayne Wong, could not be reached in the excitement after claiming the award, but Ledward Kaapana, who performed on the compilation, said "everything's good."
Kaapana, nominated for his own album, "Kiho'alu: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar," said he was taken by surprise and almost missed the opportunity to join Ho and the others onstage to receive the Grammy.
"I was talking to (online radio deejay) Aloha Joe when they announced the winner, and I forgot I was on the album until they called me to take pictures," Kaapana said, adding that it was exciting to be finalist -- let alone to be a part of a Grammy-winning album.
"We didn't make it with my album, but we made it on the compilation, so everything's good."
The award for a compilation goes to the producers rather than to the participating artists, but Ho and Wong brought many of the musicians -- George Kahumoku Jr., his son Keoki, Peter de Aquino and Garrett Probst -- to the podium during the pre-telecast ceremony at the Staples Center last night.
Hawaii's other Grammy finalists congratulated Ho on the win.
Raiatea Helm, in particular, was happy that the waiting was over. "I'm so happy for them and (also) that this is over because there was all this stress," Helm said shortly after the results were announced. Nominated for her album "Sweet & Lovely," Helm said she was having too much fun to feel disheartened by the outcome.
"I was watching Ellen DeGeneres (and) trying to photo her on my phone, but you called me!"
Sonny Lim, nominated for his "Slack Key Guitar: The Artistry of Sonny Lim," described the show as "beautiful."
"It's awesome to be here and I'm just enjoying it all. ... I'm glad the tension is over, and I'm ready to relax and keep on carrying on what we're doing."
Kapono Beamer, a nominee for "Slack Key Dreams of the Ponomoe," viewed it all from a perspective of ohana, both his own and as a local musician.
Producers Daniel Ho, left, and Wayne Wong, and performers George Kahumoku, Led Kaapana, Keoki Kahumoku, Peter de Aquino and Garrett Probst posed yesterday with the award for best Hawaiian music album at the 48th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
"I was hoping I'd have the opportunity to acknowledge my great-grandmother and my grandparents and my mom, but that'll be another time. I'm happy for Cyril Pahinui and Ledward and George Kahumoku and all those guys. They're terrific."
With so much diversity in Hawaiian music, Beamer says that "it's hard to have just one singled out as representative of all Hawaiian music.
"There are 97 pre-broadcast (awards) categories, including something called 'Traditional Tropical Latin Album,' so that makes me think we could have a lot of Hawaiian categories. ... It's going to take Hawaiian artists joining the (National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) and getting the membership up from where it is now before we'll be able to qualify for additional Hawaiian categories."
From a potential pool of 16,000 award voters who are NARAS members, only about 100 from Hawaii.
Star-Bulletin reporter Gary Chun contributed to this report.
NOMINEES WITH HAWAII CONNECTIONS HAVE BIG NIGHT
Two other Grammy Award winners last night have local ties:
U.S. Sen. Barack Obama: The Illinois senator, a Punahou graduate, won the Best Spoken Word Album award for his audio-book version of his autobiography, "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance."
"Good Night, and Good Luck": The soundtrack album for the Oscar-nominated film, with arrangements by Honolulu Symphony Pops conductor Matt Catingub, was named Best Jazz Vocal Album. The album features singer Dianne Reeves; Catingub played saxophone.