WHO IS HENTA AND HOW DID SHE GET NOMINATED FOR A GRAMMY?
Every year, the Recording Academy has at least one WTF moment and this year it’s again in the New Age category. Last year Jack DeJohnette inexplicably won for Peace Time, which in a post-Grammy blog I called “a generic New Age album that would’ve been cliched 30 years ago” and likened it to Yusef Lateef for getting the New Age Grammy in 1987 for his hackneyed Little Symphony and Jethro Tull winning the Heavy Metal Grammy in 1988 for Crest of a Knave.
But all those artists had names and were brilliant in their fields, jazz and rock respectively. But who the hell is Henta? You don’t know? Someone must. She’s one of 5 nominees in the New Age category, but I’ve never heard of her. It’s not so unusual that an artist slips by me sometimes. I’m not all-knowing, even in my field. But it is unusual when that artist can muster enough votes in a Grammy category to make the final five. She sits alongside established names like Jim Brickman, Peter Kater and Dominic Miller, new age icon, Kitaro, and easily the best album in the group and one of the best CDs of the year, Prayer for Compassion by David Darling an Echoes CD of the Month in March. As a Ricky Gervais character might say, “Are you having a laugh?”
Henta’s nominated CD, Laserium for the Soul, is a slice of generic, hard core new age with ethereal vocals and overladen synthesizer pads. How such a derivative, run-of-the-mill work from an artist with no apparent profile makes the 5 New Age nominees is beyond me. Perusing her website, it’s clear that she’s a working musician with previous recordings, sound library work and more, but it’s nothing that most people, Grammy voters or not, would know about. It’s not like New Age doesn’t have enough of a credibility problem.
Overall, this is one of the weakest years for Echoes artists at the Grammys. You can usually find them in the fringe categories but few are found in 2009s selection.
Congratulations to these Echoes Artists for making the cut.
But other worthy albums are:
In A Dream
Peter Kater, Dominic Miller
[Point Of Light Records]
Impressions Of The West Lake
Bela Fleck got a couple of Grammy nods:
In Best Classical Crossover Album our pick is:
* The Melody Of Rhythm
Béla Fleck, Zakir Hussain & Edgar Meyer
And in Best Contemporary World Music Album
* Throw Down Your Heart: Tales From The Acoustic Planet, Vol. 3 — Africa Sessions
Echoes favorite Yo-Yo Ma is also nominated in that category.
Yo-Yo Ma & Friends: Songs Of Joy And Peace
Riders Of The Healing Road
Johnny Whitehorse (A.K.A. Robert Mirabal)
[Silver Wave Records]
Best Traditional World Music Album was slim for actual Echoes albums, but we’ve played music by these artists:
Rahim Alhaj And Amjad Ali Khan
That’s it for Echoes at the Grammys. We’ll have a special show around the telecast of the Awards ceremony next year.