I read with great interest your article about the Na Hoku Hanohano
Award ceremony (“The ‘Hawaiian Grammys,’” July 5, 2007). I am a proud
member of HARA [Hawaiian Academy of Recording Arts] and I had the
opportunity to go to the awards last year when an album of mine was
nominated. It was indeed amazing and wonderful to see so much musical
talent in one place.
I would like to clear up a couple of misconceptions you may have
about the Grammy Awards for Best Hawaiian Album. You are quite correct
when you say that “some local music industry insiders” have been
unhappy with the albums selected for Grammys. These folks worked hard
to get a separate category established for Hawaiian music, and I’m sure
they had the expectation that groups currently popular in Hawai‘i (in
terms of CD sales and radio airplay) would win the awards. Instead, all
of the Grammys so far have gone to traditional Hawaiian music in the
form of slack key albums. Obviously, those promoting more contemporary
music are disappointed, understandably so.
Why are the members of the academy voting for this traditional
music? Are they making “safe” or “uninformed” choices? Some in the
Hawaiian music industry may disagree with me, but I believe that the
reason the Recording Academy voters have chosen as they have, is that
slack key artists have been touring all over the world for many years,
and this is the music that is known as Hawaiian to many people.
Because all of the Grammy-winning albums so far have been
compilations, the awards have gone to the producers. This is because
the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) gives the
award to a person or persons responsible for over 50 percent of the
album. With a compilation, where each artist has a single track on an
album, NARAS gives the Grammy to the producer. You should know,
however, that of the eight Grammys handed out so far in this category,
only three went to non-Hawaiians: Charles Brotman and myself (2). The
other five went to Hawaiian-born individuals: George Kahumoku Jr.,
Wayne Wong (2) and Daniel Ho (2).
Another important issue for us is raised when you say in your
article that albums have been chosen “that contained no Hawaiian
language whatsoever.” In fact, this was only true of the first album to
win the award. The albums for 2005 and 2006 are mostly Hawaiian
language albums, performed by real Hawaiians (George Kahumoku Jr.,
Cyril Pahinui, Dennis Kamakahi and others).
We’re proud of our Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Concert
Series here on Maui, now in its fourth year of operation. Our goal is
to promote and preserve traditional Hawaiian mele. We feel that we
represent Hawai‘i well at the Grammy awards with this music.
-Paul Konwiser, Producer, Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Concert Series
Samantha Campos responds: I
understand and agree with everything you say, Mr. Producer. My
intention was to briefly present all the issues raised by introducing
the Hawaiian Music category to the Grammys—the pride of its inclusion,
as well as the discontent of its seemingly narrow scope. Still, as
deserved as the Grammy winners are, it’s impossible to please all
players in the wide world of Hawaiian music with one categorical
accolade. That’s why I believe the Na Hoku Hanohano awards are so
beloved and prominent within this community, and have been for the past
INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY, ANYONE?
I read your news every now and then to see what is going on in the
little island of Maui. To be perfectly honest, I think your points,
however, are a bit biased. In regard to your publication with the bar
Paradice Bluz (“15 Days,” May 10, 2007), facts are facts. Someone died
because of its negligence, the gentleman was intoxicated and he should
have not been allowed to drink while in the club. The employees serving
him should have noticed his condition, but they did not and because of
this, he got into his car and killed himself. But what if he had killed
someone else, a child as well?
Would your weekly magazine be as consoling and forgiving to the
owner? I think the place should have been shut down and a 15-day closer
is actually minor compared to the damage that has taken place and could
have taken place.
The news should be reported, not the magazine’s position on the
case. So what if he loses $30,000? No matter of money can bring back a
life at the hands of negligence and to say, “I should have pleaded not
guilty,” is insane. What kind of a heart does the supposed owner have?
He should take the responsibility and if he had any morals, close
the place himself out of guilt. Not that this couldn’t have happened in
another club anywhere in the nation, but to say that the liquor control
is harsh in its judgment, I would say the Liquor Control should have
closed the doors forever and thrown away the key, but that is my
-Anonymous, via email.
Anthony Pignataro responds: I
think you’re confusing two events—over-serving a customer and driving
while intoxicated—which aren’t both the fault of a bar owner. Yes,
Paradice Bluz was found guilty of over-serving an intoxicated customer,
and while it’s possible club staff could have pressed him on the need
to get a ride home, at no time did anyone at the club press car keys
into his hand and force him to drive home.