In 2009 as the Grammy Awards were announced, I wrote a blog called Who is Henta and How Did She Get Nominated for A Grammy. With just a simple name-replacement and a couple of updates, I rewrote it in 2010 as Who is Zamora and How Did He Get Nominated for a Grammy? I didn’t do anything except replace Henta’s name with Zamora’s.
I decided not to run it because I didn’t want to be negative again. But I’m not going to pass this up two years in a row, so…………
HENTA ZAMORA AND HOW DID SHE HE GET NOMINATED FOR A GRAMMY? TWICE!!
Every year, the Recording Academy has at least one WTF moment and in this 54th year it’s again in the New Age category. Three years ago, 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 (a good album, just not heavy metal).
But all those artists had names and were brilliant in their fields, jazz and rock respectively. But who the hell is
Henta Zamora? You don’t know? Someone must. She’s He’s one of 5 nominees in the New Age category, but I’ve never heard of her him. 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 He sits alongside established names like Peter Kater, and jazz guitar icon Pat Metheny (what he’s doing in this category is another WTF Grammy Moment.) as well as much lesser known artists, Michael Brant DeMaria and Al Conti. As Ricky Gervais as Andy Tilman as Ray Stokes might say, “Are you ‘avin’ a laugh?” Henta’s Zamora’s nominated CD, Laserium for the Soul Instrumental Oasis, Vol. 6, is a slice of generic, hard core new age with ethereal vocals syrupy melodies, corny pan-pipe samples 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 his website, it’s clear that she’s he’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.
He does have a Wiki page but Zamora’s Autobody is listed higher in a Google search. Sadly, small categories like New Age are easily gamed in the Grammys. Even bigger categories like Americana can be manipulated, as it was this year by complete unknown, Linda Chorney, for her album, Emotional Jukebox. She didn’t break any rules. She simply optimized her social networking, including the Grammy 360 social network. But that doesn’t make it the best album.
Hopefully, creativity, integrity and artistic bravery will win out this year and Pat Metheny‘s What’s It All About will take the New Age Grammy. He’s already won 18 Grammy awards, most in various jazz categories, but whenever he puts out a solo acoustic album, suddenly he’s New Age. His presence elevates the genre, and even though it’s not a New Age album, it is the best album in the category.
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
2009’s, 2010’s, 2011’s selection. But we’ll run down some of our favorites on Friday, February 10 on Echoes at the Grammys.
The Grammys themselves will be broadcast Sunday night, February 12, although most categories, including New Age, are given off-screen during the day. But you can watch the webcast. See the complete list of nominees.
~© 2012 John Diliberto ((( echoes )))
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