Grammys are here again. And I, for one, will be glued to the tube on Sunday night, trying to make heads or tails of why the National Academy for Recording Arts and Sciences chose the winners it did.
Regardless of who wins the Album, Song or Record of the Year this time around, the big winner is Hawaiian music. For the first time in Grammy history (that would be approximately 47 years), there will be a Hawaiian Music Album category.
Hawaiian music isn't just slide-guitar hula accompaniment. There is a rich diversity in the music that comes from the group of Islands in the mid-Pacific.
Here are the five Best Hawaiian Music Album nominees:
The Brothers Cazimero; "Some Call It Aloha . . . Don't Tel."
The Brothers Cazimero incorporate traditional Hawaiian songs and chants, performed in the original Hawaiian language. The duo uses acoustic bass and 12-string guitar, which, by the way, are traditional Hawaiian music instruments. It's smooth Hawaiian folk.
Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom & Willie K; "Amy & Willie Live."
Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom and Willie K are Hawaiian-music solo acts who combined their efforts for a tour in 2003. The duo hit the mainland and Europe to critical acclaim. They even performed with Santana in Aurich, Germany. Gilliom is known for a singing style called "ha'i," which is Hawaiian female falsetto singing. She teamed with Willie K (born William Kahaiali'i), an arranger and multi-instrumentalist, who has worked with his father, renowned Hawaiian musician Manu Kahaiali'i, and country icon Willie Nelson. Combined, the duo perform a playful array of Hawaiian jazz.
Ho'okena; "Cool Elevation."
Music that uses ukulele, acoustic bass and guitar is where the group Ho'okena is coming from. Composed of Many Boyd (ukulele), Horache K. Dudoit III (12-string rhythm guitarist), Chris Kamaka (multi-instrumentalist) and Glen H.K. Smith (vocalist), Ho'okena is one of the top groups in Hawaii.
Keali'i Reichel; "Ke'alaokamaile."
Contrary to what some people think, Keali'i Reichel is not related to Deseret Morning News music critic Edward Reichel, although they both have long hair. Heali'i Reichel's music is derived from the 2,000-year-old Hawaiian culture. Percussion and melodic chanting are the main focus of his style.
Various Artists; "Slack Key Guitar Vol. 2."
This various artists album, produced by Charles Michael Brotman, has music played on the acoustic guitar. Some consider it "Hawaiian Cowboy" or "paniolo" music. Others call if Hawaiian folk. The artists tune and play their guitars to their own liking. There are traditional and contemporary styles in Slack Key. The closest mainland comparison is finding the differences between bluegrass and folk. Solo pianist George Winston is a huge fan of Hawaiian Slack Key guitar playing and is currently preserving old recordings of Slack Key guitarists.
Hawaii has a lot to offer the world in the music scene and it has the potential to do for Hawaiian music what Bob Marley and Jamaica did for reggae music.
Tune in Sunday at 8 p.m. on Ch. 2 to see if the NARAS will televise the Hawaiian Music Album award, or just list it on the screen before a commercial.
E-mail: [email protected]