Alberta powwow group Northern Cree disappointed by changes
The category was one of 31 dropped in a restructuring announced Wednesday by the Recording Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Best male pop soloist and best female pop soloist are among the awards cut in the overhaul of the 109 Grammy categories.
Former candidates for best Native American album would be able to compete in the expanded roots music category.
Northern Cree has had six nominations for best native album, including one in 2011, without winning. Frontman Steve Wood says the decision sends a message the academy doesn't care about aboriginal music.
"I always thought it was good they recognized and acknowledged our music," Wood said . "I thought if I ever got up on that stage, I would tell them that (and thank them) for recognizing and acknowledging what is probably the oldest form of music in this land."
"It shows me maybe I was thinking wrong about how they were acknowledging and recognizing our music. It shows me that they don't really care. They could care less if it's in there or not."
Some categories are being collapsed. For instance, male and female pop and country soloists will now compete in a single category. So Bruno Mars, who won best male pop soloist in February, might be competing directly with Lady Gaga, who won in the female category, in future editions.
Genres within a field have also been consolidated, so both traditional and urban R&B will be considered together. In rock, best rock solo, best rock duo or group and best rock instrumental categories have been combined as best rock performance.
Most of the awards categories will become more competitive under the restructuring.
By Geri Parlin
The La Crosse resident has won three Grammys for his Native American albums. But the Grammy organization announced this week it was cutting 31 categories from its program, including the Native American award.
Miller will now be lumped in with Zydeco and Hawaiian music in the Regional category.
That's nonsense, Miller said, since his flute music doesn't have anything in common with those other forms.
"It's like taking a lure out of your tackle box and wondering if the fish will bite. If you're a bass fisherman, you use different bait" than if you're fishing for walleye, he said. "Now I'm throwing it in a pond with bass, walleye, whale. I don't know what's biting today. Who knows?"
Recording Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow said the changes will make the awards process more rigorous.
I don't know, the amount of people who listen to Native American music is probably pretty small therefore the only judges would be likey Native Americans.
For more on the subject, see:
Grammy overhaul eliminates best Native American music album category
Starting next year, albums formerly in the Native American category will be shifted to the newly created best regional roots music category, which also will include Hawaiian, Zydeco and Cajun music.
But 2006 Grammy contender Cheevers Toppah said the Native American category already featured a jumble of musical styles, including traditional singing, American Indian gospel hymns and flute instrumentals. He and Alex E. Smith were nominated for their album “Intonation,” which fused traditional Southern Plains singing with contemporary harmonizing.
The Weatherford resident believes historical significance should have preserved the category.
“It is a business what they’re doing, and sometimes business has to do what’s in their best interests,” said Toppah, 28, who is Kiowa and Navajo. “But sometimes I just think there are certain things you don’t get rid of — like pretty much what your country is based on.”
May 9th, 2011 - PRESS CONFERENCE AGAINST NARAS’ SLASHING OF GRAMMYS
NARAS ERASES 31 CATEGORIES FROM GRAMMYS
OUTRAGED MUSIC COMMUNITY RESPONDS
Non-Native join the protest:
Carlos Santana and Herbie Hancock battle Grammy changes
Contemporary blues, Native American, Hawaiian, and Latin jazz are among the 31 categories that are being cut from the prestigious awards show.
The musicians are calling for the categories to be reinstated, saying the reductions unfairly target ethnic music.
Paul Simon, of Simon and Garfunkel fame, wrote a separate letter to Mr Portnow.
"I believe the Grammys have done a disservice to many talented musicians by combining previously distinct and separate types of music into a catch-all of blurry larger categories," he wrote.
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