On Sunday night The Staples Centre in LA once again played host to the musical showpiece of Hollywood’s award season, the 54th annual Grammy Awards.
Tinariwen win Best World Music Album
Huge congratulations go out to Touareg band Tinariwen – who featured on the front cover of Songlines issue #79 – for winning Best World Music Album for Tassili. Clearly elated with their win, the band issued the following message on their Facebook this morning:
Thanks everyone, all our thoughts to our families, and friends in the North of Mali and the to Touareg refugees in Niger, Mauritanie, Algeria, Burkina…
Perhaps providing the greatest selection of musically diverse award categories affiliated with one event, the Grammys allow for lesser-known genres and artists to be recognised on the global stage. However, this year’s event was marked by both public and artist protest at the NARAS’ (governing body for the Grammys) decision to remove 31 award categories largely associated with folk and regional ethic acts.
In an attempt to pool certain categories under one ‘catch-all’ heading, awards such as Best Traditional World Music are now combined with Best Contemporary World Music to create a Best World Music category. NARAS blamed declining numbers of entries in these fields for the reduction.
In reaction to the changes, which also affected R&B, American Roots, Latin and other more specialised genres, groups of musicians who feel disenfranchised by the new rules gathered at Mama Juana’s nightclub, Studio City, on Sunday to perform and shed light on this issue.
Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Latin jazz musician Bobby Matos proclaimed, ‘It’s not all just about pop music, hip-hop and country. We deserve some recognition, and if we’re not recognised by the organisation that purports to recognise artistic excellence, then we become invisible and irrelevant.’
The reduction of traditional and regional categories can only increase the perpetual negative feeling that surrounds the Grammys of its preference for the commercially successful.
To read further about this issue visit www.grammywatch.org - formed last year in opposition to the category restructuring.
Other select Grammy winners include:
Best Instrumental Composition: Béla Fleck & Howard Levy – Life in Eleven
Best Bluegrass Album: Alison Krauss & Union Station – Paper Airplane
Best Folk Album: The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow