Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bay Area Musicians Protest Ill-Advised Grammy Cuts

By Rachel Swan
Tue, May 10, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Apparently the Grammys got super-lean this year — down from 109 award categories to a meager 79. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) cut the awards by one-third, mostly to ensure prestige, said Neil Portnow, the organization's president, at an April 6 press conference in Los Angeles. Portnow contends that narrowness of scope is the only way to keep the Grammys from becoming too diffuse or collage-like. Yet, many musicians and record producers are protesting the decision, arguing that the cuts disproportionately affect world, Latin, African-American, and non-mainstream music. Mexican and Tejano got consolidated into one category, as did banda and Norteño music. R&B dropped from 8 categories to 4. Classical and American roots music lost 4 categories, while pop, Latin, country, and rock lost 3; meanwhile, the awards for best pop instrumental, best Native American album, best Hawaiian album, and best rap or Gospel album will be eliminated entirely. Outraged Bay Area musicians met yesterday at Oakland Yoshi's for a press conference hosted by percussionist John Santos, who has been leading the local campaign for Grammy reinstatement. They're currently circulating a petition to protest the "ill-advised" hatchet job. With more than 2,500 signatures thus far, it may actually have an impact. Check out Portnow's press conference below:


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