George Kahumoku Jr., left, and Wayne Wong accepted the Grammy Award for best Hawaiian music album yesterday at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Victory shows Grammys still in tune with slack key
Slack-key guitar triumphed once again, and a compilation album prevailed for the third straight year, as "Legends of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar" was named the best Hawaiian music album at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
The compilation was produced by Daniel Ho, George Kahumoku Jr., Paul Konwiser and Wayne Wong.
Ho, calling shortly after collecting his statuette, described the win as "unbelievable. It's just a wonderful feeling."
It was the second win in as many years for Ho, Konwiser and Wong, co-producers of last year's Grammy winner, "Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Volume 1."
And, just like last year, the producers called the artists who'd played on the album -- Richard Ho'opi'i, Keoki Kahumoku and Da 'Ukulele Boys among them -- up to join them onstage. Everyone got the chance to say a few words commemorating the win before they closed with "Hawai'i Aloha."
Grammy nominee Henry Kapono and his wife, Lezlee, arrived for yesterday's ceremony.
Kahumoku used his time to talk about the importance of music education programs in schools and elsewhere.
Also nominated were Amy Hanaiali'i for "Generation Hawai'i," Ledward Ka'apana for "Grandmaster Slack Key Guitar," Henry Kapono for "The Wild Hawaiian" and another compilation, "Hawaiian Slack Key Kings," produced by Chris and Milton Lau.
The winning collection comprises live recordings from the weekly "Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Series" on Maui.
"We're very proud that we're presenting Hawaii and Hawaiian music," Ho said. "Collectively we've made a really honest effort to make the best music and the best recordings and the best engineering we can. It's something we're been doing for almost 10 years -- and Paul and George and Wayne have been doing their show (on Maui) for many years -- and we hope Hawaii feels we did a good enough job."
Ho dressed for the occasion with the "lucky jacket" that he'd worn for the first time at the Grammys last year. He also had the "lucky penny" that he found on the way to the show last year, and the fortune cookie fortune he saved from a recent dinner.
Luck and awards aside, Ho said, his priority is the music.
"It's great to win awards, it feels good, but it's about the music."