Native Grammy award nominees head to Madison Square Garden

By Sandra Hale Schulman -
News From Indian Country -

The annual Grammy Awards have announced their nominees for the 2018 Awards show that airs in January. While the traditional Native American Music category was eliminated after a ten year run, native music and musicians are still going strong in various categories. It seems to help if you were born in Hawaii, as three of the main nominees were all born there.

Nominated for Best Regional Roots Music Album:
Ho’okena  for Ho’okena  3.0
Ho‘okena is a lifelong mainstay on the Hawaiian island music scene and is known for their dedication to Hawaiian contemporary music. Since 1986 the group has produced 12 CDs and won numerous music awards. Their latest CD which is nominated, “Ho’okena 3.0”, was released on May 14, 2017 and commemorates their 30th anniversary. The Four-time Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards winner and two-time Grammy Awards nominee, Ho‘okena is consistently recognized for their excellence in recording, composing and creating Hawaiian contemporary music. The group often travels the world to share their harmonious music and promote Hawaii’s rich musical heritage.

Whether playing for thousands of concertgoers, an intimate private gathering or a practice jam session, the musicians of Ho‘okena continue to share their love of Hawaiian music with their fans.

Northern Cree - Miyo
Kekisepa, Make A Stand [Live]
Northern Cree Singers were founded by Steve Wood, and his brothers Randy and Earl Wood.  The group originates from the Saddle Lake Cree Nation and is made up of members from the Treaty 6 area, most notably the Frog Lake Cree Nation, Onion Lake Cree Nation, Samson Cree Nation, Louis Bull Cree Nation, and the Poundmaker Cree Nation. Northern Cree is incredibly productive, as they currently have 37 albums out that are distributed world-wide by their record label, Canyon Records from Phoenix, AZ.  They have garnered multi-Grammy nominations, multi-Juno nominations, and have been awarded multi-Native American Music Awards and Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards.  They have also won numerous powwow singing competitions.  Northern Cree is the only traditional Canadian Aboriginal group to have ever been nominated for the prestigious Grammy Award.  

Northern Cree are role models for First Nations people and live by their founder’s motto: “If you believe in yourself, who you are, where you come from, your culture and more importantly your language, it will take you to places you have never even dreamed of.”  

Pua Kiele, Josh Tatofi
Josh Tatofi is a solo artist born and raised in Hawaii. His father, Tiva Tatofi, was one of the founders of The Electrifying Kapena, a group who pioneered Island Reggae Music. He is an artist, composer, and producer who sings Island Reggae, R&B and Traditional Hawaiian music. Josh’s debut album was recorded with Waiehu Records under the group Ekolu.

His debut album gained him recognition throughout Hawaii as a Na Hoku Hanohano Award nominee for Most Promising Artist in 2011. His follow up single, a traditional Hawaiian song titled “Pua Kiele”, gained him a lot of attention in the Hawaiian music scene and he has quickly become one of the most sought after Hawaiian singers in the islands performing in Japan for multiple Hula Halau and being invited every year to perform at the prestigious Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo. He is currently working on a full length  Hawaiian traditional music CD.

Album of the Year,
     Record of the Year,
           and Song of the Year
Hawaii-born singer, Bruno Mars, who is part Taino and part Filipino, has received six nominations for his album 24K Magic, including Album of the Year, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year for “That’s What I Like”. Peter Gene Hernandez (born October 8, 1985), known professionally as Bruno Mars, is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and choreographer. He was born and raised in Hawaii by a family of musicians, Mars began making music at a young age and performed in various musical venues in his hometown throughout his childhood. He graduated from high school and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a musical career. It took him several years but he hit it big with a deal from Atlantic Records in 2009.

Mars has received so many awards and nominations including 5 Grammys, 3 Brit Awrads,  three Guinness World Records, and was named one of Time Magazines 100 most influential people in the world in 2011. In December 2013, he ranked number one on the Forbes 30 under 30 list. Mars is known for his dynamic stage performances and showmanship. Mars performs in a wide range of musical styles and he has sold an astounding 130 million records worldwide.

“Growing up in Hawaii made me the man I am,” he says. “I used to do a lot of shows in Hawaii with my father’s band. Everybody in my family sings, everyone plays instruments... I’ve just been surrounded by it. I changed my name because felt like I didn’t have [any] pizzazz, and a lot of girls say I’m out of this world, so I was like I guess I’m from Mars.”

The 60th annual Grammy Awards will take place on January 28, 2018 at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. The show will air live on CBS; check your local listings for scheduling information.


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