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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hawaiian Music nominees left off special Grammy Web site

By Dave Dondoneau
TGIF Editor

Voters selecting among the four Grammy-nominated albums in the Hawaiian Music category this year were not able to listen to the music on a Web site created by the Recording Academy.

Bill Freimuth, vice president of awards at the Recording Academy, said posting the nominees to the site is a service the academy created last year so voters would have a way to hear music from the various artists and categories. Last year, 36 of the Academy's 109 categories were posted. This year, 73 categories were posted.

"Voters still have easy access with things like iTunes and Google," Freimuth said. "This is more of a one-stop shop convenience."

The Hawaiian Music category was not posted because of the inability of an independent agency to reach all 16 publishers who have songs on the Grammy-nominated "Masters Of Slack Key Guitar, Volume 2" album.

"They do it that way for fairness," said Daniel Ho, who co-produced the slack key compilation with three other producers. Ho is also a nominee for "He Nani" with Tia Carrere, whom he team- ed with to win last year's Grammy, his third. "It happens. We were told the Rock Album category wasn't posted either because one of the producers or publishers couldn't be reached. It happens with old songs."

Ho gave permission to the Recording Academy to post both his nominated works, as did Amy Hānaiali'i for "Friends & Neighbors of Hawai'i," and Ho'okena for "Nani Mau Loa: Everlasting Beauty."

More than 12,000 voters belong to the Recording Academy, but each voter is restricted to their field of expertise.

Hawaiian music was moved to the "American Roots" category this year, so voters may be artists from Americana, Bluegrass, Traditional Blues, Contemporary Blues, Traditional Folk, Contemporary Folk, Native American, Zydeco or Cajun backgrounds.

Freimuth , along with Ann Meckelborg, Director of Business Affairs for the Recording Academy, said yesterday that Ho had allowed the Recording Academy to put his nominated works on their Web site. The problem, each said, is the Academy's independent contractor that works on getting permission to post each album, The Harry Fox Group, ran out of time to get permission from all 16 producers for the "Masters of Slack Key Guitar, Volume 2" compilation.

"We have a window of about 10 days to two weeks to clear five albums in 109 categories, each with at least 13 to 14 tracks so it's a very, very large number and difficult task," Freimuth said.

Ho's participation was brought into question last week on the social-media network Facebook, where a fellow Hawaiian music entertainer had posted that Ho intentionally withheld permission so no albums could be posted.

Freimuth said that was untrue, and Ho and Carrere have complied with all Grammy rules. Meckelborg called the claims "inaccurate" and "misconstrued."

Ho said the criticisms of his work had reached a new low. "In the past it's been about my location, Tia's race, and now it's ... to think I wouldn't want to put our work up against the other artists ... I'm very proud of the work we do. Of course I'd want it up with the other great artists in the category on the Web site."

Carrere, who was with Ho, his wife, Lydia, and co-producer Paul Konwiser during a conference call from Los Angeles yesterday, called the allegations disheartening. "Daniel does so much for so many for Hawaiian music and he continues to take it forward with all new compositions. He's a wonderful producer and person. He does everything above board every time, all the time. He's a very honorable person," she said.

Horace Dudoit, a member of Grammy-nominated Ho'okena, said he hopes the Hawaiian music community can pull together.

"I really feel for Daniel. He's been going through the backtalk and yet, he's tried to represent Hawai'i, and you have half of Hawai'i going against him," Dudoit said. "I know Daniel. He's a really a nice guy just trying to make good music. I didn't think he would do something like withhold permission on purpose."

Several of the Hawaiian music nominees are slated to perform together at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles on Friday.