Grammy 2016 announces Reggae surprises

Reggae singer Luciano.
Associated Press

The anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor was a disaster to many reggae music insiders hoping their names would be among contenders for the 58th annual Grammy awards slated for February.

The Dec. 7 announcement by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences although a future memorable date for pop recorders Kendrick Lamar, Taylor Swift and The Weeknd resonated with surprise to others un-expectant of the early votes for finalists.

Lamar might never forget that he topped the list with a whopping 11 nominations.

Swift and The Weeknd garnered nods in seven categories to emerge the best of the best. Add Drake to that list and otherwise more than a few expected nominees will reflect on the date with remorse.

The singular category that annually comprises Caribbean contenders in the Best Reggae Album category named an all-independent record label line-up of contenders.

Representing VP Records, Doctor Dread Presents, Vpal Music, CTBC Music Group, Ghanian singer Rocky Dawuni is Cumbancha Records’ only hope of winning.

Veterans Barrington Levy and Luciano will not soon forget their big chance to claim a gramophone and Jah Cure might already be celebrating the fact he is among the crème de la crème of the finalists of the genre.

Probably for the first time ever, five very unique recorders are also vying for the sole honor dedicated to the beat of the Caribbean. Acclaimed reggae’s Royal Family of Reggae, Morgan Heritage made the shortlist with “Strictly Roots.”

Missing from the list is the name Marley — Ziggy, Stephen, Damian — all with 2015 album releases were conspicuously absent from a lineup they have dominated for years and often won predictably when total votes were counted.

Their absence leaves a clear path to victory for any one of the five nominees.

While none of the names nominated announced decidedly a clear-cut champion to the golden symbol of music excellence, already trumpeted to win are the children of Denroy Morgan who is renowned for scoring a pop hit in the 1980’s with a single “I’ll Do Anything For You.”

Ironically, earlier this year, the group traveled with Damian and Stephen Marley opening the “Catch A Fire” tour.

The tour played here inside Central Park and on a rainy evening performed to SRO crowds.

The family of Morgan brothers — Peetah, Mojo, Gramps, Lukes with sister Una have been on the scene since 1994 when they made their debut. Now Morgan Heritage will compete against Ghanian Rocky Dawuni, Jah Cure, Luciano and Barrington Levy for the coveted music honor.

In order to win, their “Strictly Roots,” must find favor with voters unimpressed by the African’s reggae rendition of “Branches Of The Same Tree,” Levy’s “Acousticalevy,” Luciano’s “Zion Awake” and Jah’s “The Cure.”

In another of the 30 fields comprising 83 categories Nicky Minaj registers Caribbean presence with “The Pinkprint” in the Best Rap album category.

The Trnidad & Tobago-born rap music writer is also up for a double in the Best Rap Sung Collaboration with Drake, Lil Wayne and Chris Brown with “Only.”

Minaj commands three out of four rap nods with “Truffle Butter” in the Best Rap Performance category.

A few years ago, President Barack Obama won for his audio version of “The Audacity of Hope.”

This time around it is former President Jimmy Carter that is contending in the same category. Nominated five times in a decade, former President Carter has already won a Grammy. He clinched a win in 2007 and was nominated the following year in the Spoken Word field.

“A Full Life: Reflections At 90,” is the Plains, Georgian’s newest audio book that relates his storied life from peanut planter to president and African advocate.

The news came one day after the 91-year-old, active house builder was diagnosed cancer-free. Last August he said he was undergoing treatment for melanoma lesions on his brain and liver. He told his church’s congregation on Dec. 6, he will continue treatment despite the good news.

This is President Carter’s seventh nomination.

Last year, Pres. Carter’s “A Fighting Chance” lost out to comedienne Joan Rivers who died prior to the awards.

Up against popular favorites Patti Smith, Amy Poehler, Dick Cavett, Janis Ian and Jean Smart, I challenge anyone who will vote to deny the one-term commander-in-chief who during his short tenure in office returned the Panama Canal to its rightful owners.

Musician Ruben Blades, a former minister of culture in Panama again wins votes in the Best Tropical Latin Album area for his “Son De Panama.”

Final winners will be announced on Feb. 15, 2016 on CBS TV during the awards presentation from California.

Former President Jimmy Carter (R) shakes the hand of Grammy Musicares 2015 honoree Bob Dylan earlier this year.
Grammy.com

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