Gregg Porter's Music Reviews
The recordings all come from a live concert series, held weekly at the Ritz Carlton, Kapalua, Maui, since October of 2003. (In fact, Pahinui and Konwiser were unable to attend the Grammy celebration in Los Angeles on February 8, because they were handling that evening’s concert.) Producers Ho and Wong were on hand to receive their statuettes at a pre-telecast ceremony held that afternoon. News of the win reached various sources, including Hawaiian newspaper websites, before 1:00 Pacific Time that Wednesday afternoon. Also present at the Staples Center to join the producers on stage were both Kahumokus (father and son), and DeAquino & Probst; Ka`apana was talking with someone when the winner was announced, but met up with everyone else backstage for photos immediately following.
Ka`apana was also a nominee for his own solo album, as were Sonny Lim (who participated in last year’s Grammy winning release, Slack Key Guitar, Volume 2 on Palm Records), Kapono Beamer and Raiatea Helm, who were all attending the ceremony. Four out of the five nominees had “slack key” in the title, which, following on the heels of last year’s winner, fuels additional speculation as to how strong the effect of Mainland voters on the Hawaiian Album category continues to be. There are approximately 17,000 eligible voters in NARAS/The Recording Academy (including this writer), but only about 100 of them hail from Hawai`i. The Hawaiian Album is considered part of the Folk field, so members who wanted to vote in that field could also vote on releases in the Traditional Folk, Contemporary Folk, and Native American Album categories. Mainland voters who know of Hawaiian music at all are more likely to be familiar with kī hō`alu than Hawaiian-language songs.
Hawai`i Academy of Recording Arts President Alan Yamamoto (who is also an officer in the Pacific Northwest Chapter of NARAS) thinks that last year’s win did generate additional interest in the genre, but doesn’t think slack key guitar music will dominate Grammy wins that much in the future. Originally, the winning album was not intended to be in existence at all, as the recordings were only made for archival purposes, so that George Kahumoku, Jr.’s brother-in-law (new-age pianist, Dancing Cat Records founder and slack key aficionado George Winston) could hear the Maui shows.
Producer Ho recently answered questions for Northwest Hawai`i Times:
Can you recall what your thoughts were when they announced that your CD was the Grammy winner, as well as when you learned of your nomination?
In creating this CD, how did you decide which musicians would be featured, and what selections?
Kī hō`alu music has seen a resurgence in the past decade, particularly on the Mainland. What effect do you think this Grammy win, as well as last year's, will have on slack key?
What's next for the label, and how soon are we likely to see the next volumes of this series?
For more information:
Part of the team responsible for this year’s Grammy Award-winning Hawaiian Album, relaxing in Los Angeles the morning after the ceremonies –
(L to R) Garrett Probst & Peter deAquino (Da `Ukulele Boys), Keoki Kahumoku, George Kahumoku, Jr., and producer/label owner Daniel Ho.
Photo by Lydia Miyashiro.
More notes from the Grammy Awards: the soundtrack album from the film Good Night, and Good Luck won the award for Best Jazz Vocal Album, featuring singer Dianne Reeves. Honolulu Pops conductor Matt Catingub arranged the songs for the soundtrack, and played saxophone on the sessions (as well as appearing in the film.) --- Illinois senator and Punahou graduate Barack Obama took home the Best Spoken Word Album statuette for the audio-book of his autobiography. --- O`ahu North Shore resident Jack Johnson was shut out of the awards in the two categories where he had received nominations.
Hawaiian music tours coming to the region include Hapa (Triple Door, March 7, two shows); slack-key masters Dennis Kamakahi, Cyril Pahinui, and George Kahumoku, Jr. (Town Hall, March 31 – correction from last month: Patrick Landeza is NOT one of the players in this concert, but it will be followed by Landeza’s Hawaiian Music Institute workshops with Dennis and David Kamakahi, among others, on April 1 and 2); and Jake Shimabukuro (Benaroya Hall, April 7 & Portland on April 8.) --- Shimabukuro’s signing with the renowned William Morris Agency made a big splash last fall, but he’s already parted company with them. His booking agent, Scott Galloway, left WMA for a position with an agency in Nashville, and Shimabukuro enjoyed working with Galloway so much, he changed agencies along with him.
The Hawaiian music scene lost another performer recently, when big-band leader Del Courtney passed away on February 11th. Originally based in the Bay Area as a musician, bandleader and radio host from the 1930s to the 1970s, he worked with Bing Crosby, the Ink Spots, Carmen Miranda, and many other superstars. In 1978, he moved to Hawai`i , eventually leading the music for tea dances at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Courtney was 95.
Adult Contemporary / “Back to Hawai`i ” Stuart Nakai
Anthology / “Kamahiwa: Collection One” Keali`i Reichel
Blues / “Live at the Stopwatch” Chance & the BluesDaddies
Children's Music / “Surf, Sand & Song” Keiki O Waimanalo
Classical / “Fantasies” by Grace Nikae
Compilation / “Aloha Festivals Falsetto Contest Winners, Vol. 6”
Contemporary Hawaiian / “My Island Paradise ” Manny K. Fernandez
Country / “My 9th Island Paniolo Ranch” Danny Estocado
DVD / “They Call Her Lady Fingers - Betty Loo Taylor ” Sam Polson & Patricia Gillespie
Film Score / “Ho`okipa” Ho`okipa
Folk / “All The Things I Said” Ray Bumatai
Hip Hop / “The Greatest HI” Krystiles featuring Floers
Inspirational/Gospel / “Hymns of Hawai`i , Vol. 2” George Kahumoku, Jr. & Daniel Ho
Instrumental / “Aloha From Hawai`i ” Greg and Junko MacDonald
International Hawaiian / “The Island of Angels ” Anella
Island Contemporary / “UnCut” INoA`ole
Jazz / “Bass Etude” Nathan Aweau
New Age / “Rainforest Piano and Harp” Keith Scott & Amy Heindl
Polynesian / “Mama” Mt. Vaea Band
Pop / “Jasmine Trias” Jasmine Trias
Punk/Ska / “Scary Beast” WMF
R & B / “Tha3LOGY” Aziel
Rap / “My Life” J-Bird
Reggae / “Ekolu Music” Ekolu
Rock / “Dragon” Jake Shimabukuro
Seasonal / “An Old-Fashioned Christmas” Opihi Pickers & Friends
Single / “Luau Cha Cha Cha” Sonya Mendez
Slack Key Guitar / “Kīhō`alu” Ledward Ka`apana
Steel Guitar / “Master of the Steel Guitar” Jerry Byrd
Traditional Hawaiian / “He `Olu” Holunape
`Ukulele / “Hear…” Brittni Paiva
World Music / “Mutambo!” Mabanzi Marimba
Governor's Fine Arts Award: George Naope
Mayor's Performing Arts Award: Don Ho
Lifetime Achievement: Betty Loo Taylor
Entertainer: Al Harrington
Best Show: Cha & Jack Thompson
Male Vocalist: Jimmy Borges
Female Vocalist: Sonya Mendez
Musical Group: Keith & Carmen Haugen
Studio Musician: Jimmy Funai
Songwriter: Eddie Suzuki
Producer: Gordon Broad
Engineer: Charlie Lukela
Music Tech: Randy Bauske
Music Educator: Punahou High School Music Deptartment
Loyal Garner Award: “Na Mele: Traditions in Hawaiian Song” (PBS Hawaii)
Christian Riese Lassen Best Album Artwork: “Kamahiwa: Collection One” Keali`i Reichel
Copyright © 2004-2009 by Northwest Hawai`i Times