Nominees for the Best Hawaiian Music Album category were announced last night along with other nominations for the 51st Annual Grammy Awards.
The nominated discs in the Best Hawaiian Music Album category are:
• Ikena by Tia Carrere & Daniel Ho
• Aumakua by Amy Hanaialii
• Force of Nature by Led Kaapana & Mike Kaawa
• Hawaiian Slack Key Kings Masters Series, Vol. II, a multi-artist compilation produced by Chris Lau and Milton Lau
• The Spirit of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, a multi-artist compilation produced by Daniel Ho, George Kahumoku Jr., Dennis Kamakahi, Paul Konwiser and Wayne Wong.
For the first time in the category’s five-year history, all five slots were filled by former Hawaiian album Grammy nominees.
Multi-artist slack key guitar compilations from the production team of Ho, Konwiser and Wong—recorded live at Maui’s long-running Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar concert series—have won the Hawaiian music album Grammy for the last three years.
Spirit of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar—co-produced by the trio with musicians George Kahumoku Jr. and Dennis Kamakahi—was also culled from Masters series performances. Co-founded by slack key guitar master and educator Kahumoku, the concerts are held every Wednesday at the Napili Kai Beach Resort.
Vocalist Amy Hanaialii’s nomination for Aumakua was her third in the category; she received nods in 2004 and 2006. Slack key master Led Kaapana’s nomination for Force of Nature—a vocal and instrumental album—was also his third, after nods in 2004 and 2006. Actor/vocalist Carrere’s Ikena nomination was her second consecutive for the Hawaiian music Grammy. Hawaiian Slack Key Kings producers Chris Lau and Milton Lau were previously nominated in 2006.
This year's bounty of nominations for familiar Hawaiian Grammy names and music styles left little room in the final cut for some of 2008's best Hawaii-made albums. Shut out of the final five were well-received discs by Nathan Aweau (Kaneohe), The Brothers Cazimero (Destiny), Kaumakaiwa Kanakaole (Kaumakaiwa) and Leokane Pryor (Home Malanai).
In other Hawaii-related Grammy nomination news, the cast album for the hit Broadway revival of South Pacific—featuring tracks by Hawaii actor and entertainer Loretta Ables Sayre—got a nod for Best Musical Show Album. A Grammy win for the disc would award the golden gramophone to the album’s producers, lyricists and composers. But we thought Loretta—and her very talented Tony-nominated co-stars—deserved some props nonetheless.
Honolulu born-and-raised songwriter/screenwriter and past Grammy-nominee Dean Pitchford (Footloose, Fame) received a nomination for Best Spoken Word Album For Children for The Big One-Oh.
The 51st Annual Grammy Awards will be handed out in Los Angeles on Feb. 8, 2009, and broadcast on CBS.