COURTESY DANIEL HO CREATIONS
Tia Carrere with Daniel Ho.
Slack key dominates at Grammys
Slack key is again dominant, but solo artists received a majority of the nominations yesterday as the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences announced the five finalists in the Best Hawaiian Music Album category for the 2008 Grammy Awards.
Nominees announced this morning in leading categories for the 50th Annual Grammy Awards:
Record of the Year: "Irreplaceable," Beyoncé; "The Pretender," Foo Fighters; "Umbrella," Rihanna featuring Jay-Z; "What Goes Around ... Comes Around," Justin Timberlake; "Rehab," Amy Winehouse
Album of the Year: "Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace," Foo Fighters; "These Days," Vince Gill; "River: The Joni Letters," Herbie Hancock; "Graduation," Kanye West; "Back to Black," Amy Winehouse
Song of the Year: "Before He Cheats," Josh Kear & Chris Tompkins (Carrie Underwood); "Hey There Delilah," Tom Higgenson (Plain White T's); "Like a Star," Corinne Bailey Rae (Corinne Bailey Rae); "Rehab," Amy Winehouse (Amy Winehouse); "Umbrella," Shawn Carter, Kuk Harrell, Terius "Dream" Nash & Christopher Stewart (Rihanna Featuring Jay-Z)
New Artist: Feist; Ledisi; Paramore; Taylor Swift; Amy Winehouse
Pop Vocal Album: "Lost Highway," Bon Jovi; "The Reminder," Feist; "It Won't Be Soon Before Long," Maroon 5; "Memory Almost Full," Paul McCartney; "Back to Black," Amy Winehouse
Rock Album: "Daughtry," Daughtry; "Revival," John Fogerty; "Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace," Foo Fighters; "Magic," Bruce Springsteen; "Sky Blue Sky," Wilco
R&B Album: "Funk This," Chaka Khan; "Lost & Found," Ledisi; "Luvanmusiq," Musiq Soulchild; "The Real Thing," Jill Scott; "Sex, Love & Pain," Tank
Rap Album: "Finding Forever," Common; "Kingdom Come," Jay-Z; "Hip Hop Is Dead," Nas; "T.I. vs T.I.P.," T.I.; "Graduation," Kanye West
Country Album: "Long Trip Alone," Dierks Bentley; "These Days," Vince Gill; "Let It Go," Tim McGraw; "5th Gear," Brad Paisley; "It Just Comes Natural," George Strait
Contemporary Jazz Album: "Party Hats," Will Bernard; "Downright Upright," Brian Bromberg; "Re-imagination," Eldar; "River: The Joni Letters," Herbie Hancock; "He Had a Hat," Jeff Lorber
Two-time Grammy-winning producer Daniel Ho and his record label, Daniel Ho Creations, took possession of two spots on the final ballot. A win for "Hawaiiana," his clean and simple acoustic album with Hawaii-born actress Tia Carrere, would make Carrere the first solo artist to win in the category. It would also be a nifty win for Ho, the producer and studio musician for the project.
On the other hand, a win by Ho's latest slack-key concert compilation, "Treasures of Hawaiian Slack Key," would be a four-peat for compilation albums in the still-new Hawaiian-music category, and the third consecutive win for Ho and his label.
Ho got the good news in Japan, where he is currently on tour, and responded by e-mail: "We are thrilled to hear about the nominations and are honored to be recognized among those wonderful artists! It is just as exciting as the very first nomination we ever received."
He said Carrere's album is special to him because of their long friendship dating back to high school 20 years ago. "This albums is our musical journey back to our roots -- it touches upon our influences, upbringing, and the importance of sharing what it means to be from Hawaii."
Speaking of the compilation album, Ho recognized co-producers Uncle George Kahumoku Jr., Paul Konwiser and Wayne Wong and the artists involved -- "an exceptional group."
Raiatea Helm makes her second appearance as a Grammy finalist with "Hawaiian Blossom," an album that positioned her as a pop vocalist as well as reaffirming her credentials as a female Hawaiian falsetto singer.
The final two spots belong to two unquestioned masters of Hawaiian slack key -- Keola Beamer, for "Ka Hikina O Ka Hau (The Coming of the Snow)" and Cyril Pahinui, for "He'eia." Both made the final ballot with albums produced by long-time slack-key advocate George Winston for his "Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Masters" series. Winston is credited by many as the pioneer in promoting Hawaii's ki ho'alu tradition on the mainland.
In one respect, Pahinui will be competing against himself. He is also among the hodgepodge of guitarists, ukulele players, steel guitarists and falsetto singers featured on Ho's "Treasures of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar." The big difference is that under NARAS rules, the Grammy for a winning compilation goes to the producer or producers. If "He'eia" wins, the Grammy will go to him.
Returning a telephone call asking for comment, Pahinui left a brief message: "If you know anybody that's a member (of NARAS), ask them to vote."
The winner of the 2008 Grammy Award for "Best Hawaiian Music Album" will be announced during an untelevised ceremony on Feb. 10.
For a complete list of Grammy nominees, visit www.grammy.com