Women rule the show. For a change
Women Take the Lead
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Taylor Swift won a
record fourth Grammy
for Best Album

  • PLAYLIST: 35-Song Playlist on Spotify – each one a winner!
  • COMMENTARY: Musician Rhiannon Giddens on the Grammy Awards:
    A “slap in the face” towards working class musicians

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Tracy Chapman was a surprise guest at the Grammy Awards show as she sang a duet with country singer Luke Combs of her 1989 hit Fast Car. The song was Number 1 on the country charts for Combs last year.


Women rule the show. For a change

It was women’s night at the Grammy Awards last Sunday and it was about time. Flagging ratings over the last several years and many complaints about the lack of diversity in the organization and its annual showcase were finally heeded. How bad was it?

In 2018 virtually no women won in the top categories. The Recording Academy’s then chairman Neil Portnow addressed systemic problems acknowledging women artists faced “brick walls” nonetheless blaming them for failing “to step up” to boost their profile.

Grammy winner Phoebe Bridgers of Boygenius delivered Portnow an overdue smackdown in a backstage interview on Sunday night: “To him I’d like to say – I know you’re not dead yet, but when you are, I hope you rot in piss.”

He had that coming.

This year’s show attracted 16.9 million viewers – up 34 per cent from 2023. That’s still well below the show’s high mark of 39.1 million viewers in 2012.

That said, the TV audience was treated to one of the best shows in recent memory. Women swept the major award categories and several of the minor ones as well. The show’s flow was smooth and well planned featuring highlights like Tracy Chapman’s surprise duet on Fast Car with Luke Combs, Joni Mitchell’s first ever Grammy appearance and Billy Joel presenting his first new song in three decades. The In Memoriam part of the show tastefully featured a variety of artists playing on stage while the names of departed music industry members scrolled in the background.

New generation artists like Dua Lipa, SZA, Billie Eilish, Miley Cyrus, Olivia Ridrigo and Burna Boy among others all energized the program. There was a full tribute to the late Tina Turner featuring Fantasia Barrino. Annie Lennox covered the late Sinead O’Connor’s Prince-penned hit Nothing Compares To You and ended the performance with fist raised shouting, “Artists for ceasefire, peace in the world.” O’Connor would have approved.

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Annie Lennox at the end of her tribute song to Sinead O’Connor

Low profile on politics

Other than Lennox’s hardly noticed protest, controversy was barely audible or visible despite these polarized times.

Recording Academy President Harvey Mason Jr. paid tribute to the 360 festival attendees who were killed on Oct. 7 by Hamas militants. He pointed to the string quartet playing behind him noting it comprised musicians of Palestinian, Israeli and Arab descent. He told the audience, “We live in a world divided by so much. And maybe music can’t solve everything, but let us all agree, music must remain the common ground upon which we all stand, together in peace and harmony. Because music has always been one of humanity’s greatest connectors.”

Prior to the Grammy show, Somali-Canadian musician K’naan received the third annual Best Song for Social Change award for his single Refugee. Last year the UN announced that the number of displaced people worldwide had reached a milestone high of 110 million.

And, on the Grammy red carpet, Boygenius — Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker — wore matching ivory white suits and red pins that stated “artists for ceasefire” to advocate for action in Gaza. Artists for Ceasefire is a large group of musicians, artists, actors and advocates working to help resolve the humanitarian crisis there. 

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Olivia Rodrigo, Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa and Lainey Wilson

A 35-Song Winners’ Playlist

There are 94 categories in the Grammy Award list. Most of the attention goes to the star acts like Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, SZA or Billie Eilish. Only a few of the award presentations are televised and a handful of acts are chosen to perform during the 3.5 hour broadcast.

But there are almost 500 talented and hardworking nominees named in those categories ranging from musical efforts to technical. There are hidden gems among them including lesser known – but popular – artists as well as those with successful careers who fly under the radar of widespread attention.

The 35 eclectic, genre-crossing songs on today’s playlist feature many of the streaming-and-radio-friendly stars alongside the lesser known.

A few personal favourites include activist and highly regarded bass player Me’Shell Ndegéocello who won the Grammy for the inaugural Alternative Jazz Album this year. It’s her third win over a 30-year career that’s seen her working with dozens of music’s top stars such as David Bowie and John Mellencamp with whom she had a Top Ten hit with 1994’s Wild Nights.

And there’s New York-based a cappella octet veterans Roomful of Teeth who are hard to describe but “avante-classical-pop” comes close. They won Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance for the album Rough Magic.

Four-time winner Natalia Lafourcade is one of my favourite Mexican musicians. While a leading star in the Spanish-speaking world – with 17 Latin Grammy trophies – her profile outside it is smaller. She tied for the Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album with her collection De Todas Las Flores.

Check out these songs. You’ll meet artists you’ve never heard of and hear new music. Enjoy!

Kurated is a music sharing project.
Kris Sig Plastic V3

10 February 2024

The Grammy’s are a “slap in the face” for working class musicians

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Giddens with her first Grammy Award in 2010 for her group The Carolina Chocolate Drops

(ED. NOTE) In a January 22 Facebook post, musician and Grammy Award winner Rhiannon Giddens offered an insightful assessment of the North American music industry’s marquee event based on personal experience


Back in 2010, the Carolina Chocolate Drops (at that time the original trio, myself, Dom Flemons, and Justin Robinson) were up for a Best Folk Music GRAMMY. It felt like a big deal to us even though I was (and still am) conflicted about the ‘industry’ part of the music industry – but after years of championing homegrown fiddle and banjo music from the Carolinas this felt like the big leagues!

We were working class musicians at that time – I remember when Dom used to drive and I would be literally making CDs in the back seat as we went from gig to gig. We were making enough money to live, but barely – and we were young and healthy and lucky.

People might not know this, but it’s expensive to go to the GRAMMYs – if you are nominated, you pay for your flight, hotel, hair makeup, dress, food, what have you, yourself. All nominees receive a plus one to the ceremony and after party, and for a lot of non-mainstream folks, win or lose, it’s a moment of a lifetime.

I have lots of feels about awards for art, as I’ve mentioned before, but I get the need to celebrate an art form, and a lot of good people are trying to make things better. So we decided to go – I had a nursing toddler by the time the Grammy nomination came, and I brought her and her dad Mike as my plus one. It was a surreal experience – i bought my gown from somewhere, did my own hair and makeup, and we found a holiday inn in the less glitzy part of Los Angeles. We got a car to drop us off at the red carpet interview spot, and I remember clearly that absolutely zero press was interested in us 😂.

I liked to say we were old time music spies that day. We filed into the afternoon ceremony, where 99 per cent of the categories go and looked nervously in the program for where our category was. It was parked in the middle of the list, so we settled in for a wait. My daughter Aoife would occasionally want to nurse so i went to the restroom the first couple of times and then just gave up and nursed her in the auditorium – it was dark and i had a shawl on for just that purpose, and strapless gowns for the nursing win!

So we sat there and watched category after category and a pattern quickly became clear. The categories in the more mainstream genres were rarely accepted in person, as those famous people were getting ready for the actual ceremony in the evening; ‘podium accepts’ was depressingly often. The bright spots came in the less mainstream categories where you could see excited, dressed up people who were having the day of their lives when they won; folks who had come far from small towns, reservations, and close-knit communities, or who wrote liner notes, or were engineers – were having a small slice of the high life and a bit of spotlight, and loving it.

But it was clear to me that to the larger industry this ceremony felt almost like an afterthought – it wasn’t (and isn’t) televised and was often bewildering. There was a constant stream of people going in hopeful and out depressed; there was some really offensive “humor” from presenter Kathy Griffin; and I was getting more and more weirded out by the whole thing.

By the time Best Americana Music album came up, the category before ours, I was feeling pretty low. And then Mavis Staples won – somehow her first personal Grammy in her incredibly long and illustrious career – and she set it all right for me. She accepted with charm and humor (saying to the folks trying to play her off, “It took me a long time to get here, so I’m going to take my time” and we all went nuts) and I sat there with my baby in my arms and my partner at my side, and I thought, Ok that’s why I’m here! How beautiful. Her graceful acceptance of an accolade that was way overdue, while standing for all that is good and just in the very purpose of music, erased my bitterness and brought me peace.

And then we won, and all I could think was, Mavis and Joe Thompson were seen here today. My family got to witness it all. I can let the rest go. And after the pictures me and Mike and Aoife went back to the hotel, eschewing the big parties, ordered pizza, and watched the Simpsons on TV while Aoife passsed out between us. One of my favorite moments in life.

Why am I telling this story? Because the onslaught on the working class musician was taken up a notch this year. I am not going to the GRAMMYs for various reasons in February but I have just heard that the companion ticket is no longer free but costs 1200 dollars. For all the big names that’s easy, and for middle class musicians like me, its doable, if super annoying. For the folks who are just making ends meet, harder than ever in a world that is systematically erasing every avenue the musician used to have to actually make money from their music, from Spotify to closed venues to digitized orchestras, it’s a slap in the face.

There are folks within the GRAMMY ranks who really love music and are trying to change things for the better. I get that. The afternoon ceremony has slowly been upgraded and is now even livestreamed! But honestly, this is a really bad look – and it makes it ever more obvious who is valued, and more specifically what (that would be lots of money, for the folks in the back).

I’m so conflicted even posting about this what with all that is going on but it is a part of life, and so, here it is. This picture wouldn’t exist if the policy then was what it is now, and that makes me sad. Music is art. Family. Empathy. Love. We’ve made it about money, and that’s a tragedy bigger than we know.

Big thanks to Cathy Fink for the heads up. pic by Getty Images.


35 award-winning songs and albums from the 66th Grammy Awards

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And the winners are…

Record of the Year
“Flowers” — Miley Cyrus — **WINNER!

Song of the Year
“What Was I Made For? [From The Motion Picture Barbie]” – Billie Eilish O’Connell & Finneas O’Connell, songwriters (Billie Eilish) — **WINNER!!

Album of the Year
Midnights — Taylor Swift — **WINNER!

Best New Artist
Victoria Monet – **WINNER**

Producer of the Year, Non-Classical
Jack Antonoff – **WINNER**

Songwriter of the Year, Non-Classical
Theron Thomas – **WINNER**



Best Pop Solo Performance
“Flowers” – Miley Cyrus — **WINNER!

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
“Ghost in the Machine” – SZA Featuring Phoebe Bridgers – **WINNER**

Best Pop Vocal Album
Midnights — Taylor Swift — **WINNER!

Best Pop/Dance Recording
“Padam Padam” – Kylie Minogue – **WINNER**

Best Dance/Electronic Music Album
For That Beautiful Feeling — The Chemical Brothers – **WINNER**


Best Rock Album
This Is Why – Paramore – **WINNER**

Best Alternative Music Performance
“This Is Why” – Paramore – **WINNER**

Best Alternative Music Album
The Record – boygenius – **WINNER**

Best Rock Performance
“Not Strong Enough” – boygenius – **WINNER**

Best Metal Performance
“72 Seasons” – Metallica – **WINNER**

Best Rock Song
“Not Strong Enough” – Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers & Lucy Dacus, songwriters (boygenius) – **WINNER**


Best R&B Performance
“ICU” – Coco Jones – **WINNER**

Best Traditional R&B Performance
“Good Morning” – PJ Morton Featuring Susan Carol – **WINNER**

Best R&B Song
“Snooze” – Kenny B. Edmonds, Blair Ferguson, Khris Riddick-Tynes, Solána Rowe & Leon Thomas, songwriters (SZA) — **WINNER!

Best Progressive R&B Album

Best R&B Album
Jaguar II – Victoria Monet – **WINNER**

Best Rap Performance
“SCIENTISTS & ENGINEERS” — Andre Benjamin, Paul Beauregard, James Blake, Michael Render, Tim Moore & Dion Wilson, songwriters (Killer Mike Featuring André 3000, Future & Eryn Allen Kane) – **WINNER**

Best Melodic Rap Performance
“All My Life” – Lil Durk featuring J. Cole – **WINNER**

Best Rap Song
“SCIENTISTS & ENGINEERS” – Andre Benjamin, Paul Beauregard, James Blake, Michael Render, Tim Moore & Dion Wilson, songwriters (Killer Mike Featuring André 3000, Future And Eryn Allen Kane) – **WINNER**

Best Rap Album
MICHAEL – Killer Mike – **WINNER**

Best Spoken Word Poetry Album
The Light Inside – J. Ivy – **WINNER**


Best Jazz Performance
“Tight” – Samara Joy – **WINNER**

Best Jazz Vocal Album
How Love Begins – Nicole Zuraitis – **WINNER**

Best Jazz Instrumental Album
The Winds Of Change – Billy Childs – **WINNER**

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album
Basie Swings The Blues – The Count Basie Orchestra Directed By Scotty Barnhart – **WINNER**

Best Latin Jazz Album
El Arte Del Bolero Vol. 2 – Miguel Zenón & Luis Perdomo – **WINNER**

Best Alternative Jazz Album
The Omnichord Real Book — Meshell Ndegeocello – **WINNER**

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album
Bewitched – Laufey – **WINNER**

Best Contemporary Instrumental Album
As We Speak – Béla Fleck, Zakir Hussain, Edgar Meyer, Featuring Rakesh Chaurasia – **WINNER**

Best Musical Theater Album
Some Like It Hot – Christian Borle, J. Harrison Ghee, Adrianna Hicks & NaTasha Yvette Williams, principal vocalists; Mary-Mitchell Campbell, Bryan Carter, Scott M. Riesett, Charlie Rosen & Marc Shaiman, producers; Scott Wittman, lyricist; Marc Shaiman, composer & lyricist (Original Broadway Cast) – **WINNER**


Best Country Solo Performance
“White Horse” – Chris Stapleton – **WINNER**

Best Country Duo/Group Performance
“I Remember Everything” – Zach Bryan Featuring Kacey Musgraves – **WINNER**

Best Country Song
“White Horse” – Chris Stapleton & Dan Wilson, songwriters (Chris Stapleton) – **WINNER**

Best Country Album
Bell Bottom Country — Lainey Wilson — **WINNER!

Best American Roots Performance
“Eve Was Black” – Allison Russell – **WINNER**

Best Americana Performance
“Dear Insecurity” – Brandy Clark Featuring Brandi Carlile – **WINNER**

Best American Roots Song
“Cast Iron Skillet” – Jason Isbell, songwriter (Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit) – **WINNER**

Best Americana Album
Weathervanes — Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – **WINNER**

Best Bluegrass Album
City Of Gold – Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway – **WINNER**

Best Traditional Blues Album
All My Love For You – Bobby Rush – **WINNER**

Best Contemporary Blues Album
Blood Harmony – Larkin Poe – **WINNER**

Best Folk Album
Joni Mitchell At Newport [Live] – Joni Mitchell – **WINNER**

Best Regional Roots Music Album
New Beginnings – Buckwheat Zydeco Jr. & The Legendary Ils Sont Partis Band – **WINNER – TIE**

Live: Orpheum Theater Nola – Lost Bayou Ramblers & Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra **WINNER – TIE**


Best Gospel Performance/Song
“All Things” – Kirk Franklin; Kirk Franklin, songwriter – **WINNER**

Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song
“Your Power” – Lecrae & Tasha Cobbs Leonard – **WINNER**

Best Gospel Album
All Things New: Live In Orlando – Tye Tribbett – **WINNER**

Best Contemporary Christian Music Album
Church Clothes 4 – Lecrae – **WINNER**

Best Roots Gospel Album
Echoes Of The SouthBlind Boys Of Alabama – **WINNER**


Best Latin Pop Album
X Mí (Vol. 1)Gaby Moreno – **WINNER**

Best Música Urbana Album

Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album
Vida Cotidiana – Juanes – **WINNER – TIE**
De Todas Las Flores – Natalia Lafourcade – **WINNER – TIE**

Best Música Mexicana Album (including Tejano)
GÉNESIS — Peso Pluma – **WINNER**

Best Tropical Latin Album
Siembra: 45º Aniversario (En Vivo en el Coliseo de Puerto Rico, 14 de Mayo 2022) — Rubén Blades Con Roberto Delgado & Orquesta – **WINNER**

Best Global Music Performance
“Pashto” — Béla Fleck, Edgar Meyer & Zakir Hussain Featuring Rakesh Chaurasia – **WINNER**

Best African Music Performance
“Water” — Tyla – **WINNER**

Best Global Music Album
This Moment — Shakti – **WINNER**

Best Reggae Album
Colors Of Royal — Julian Marley & Antaeus – **WINNER**

Best New Age, Ambient, or Chant Album

So She Howls — Carla Patullo Featuring Tonality And The Scorchio Quartet – **WINNER**


Best Children’s Music Album
We Grow Together Preschool Songs — 123 Andrés – **WINNER**

Best Comedy Album
What’s In A Name? — Dave Chappelle – **WINNER**

Best Audio Book, Narration, and Storytelling Recording
The Light We Carry: Overcoming In Uncertain Times — Michelle Obama **WINNER**

Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media
Barbie The Album — Various Artists – **WINNER**

Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media (Includes Film And Television)
Oppenheimer — Ludwig Göransson, composer – **WINNER**

Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor — Stephen Barton & Gordy Haab, composers – **WINNER**

Best Song Written For Visual Media
“What Was I Made For?” [From Barbie The Album] — Billie Eilish O’Connell & Finneas O’Connell, songwriters (Billie Eilish) – **WINNER**

Best Music Video
“I’m Only Sleeping” — The Beatles – **WINNER**

Best Music Film
Moonage Daydream — David Bowie – **WINNER**



Best Recording Package
Stumpwork — Luke Brooks & James Theseus Buck, art directors (Dry Cleaning) – **WINNER**

Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package
For The Birds: The Birdsong Project — Jeri Heiden & John Heiden, art directors (Various Artists) – **WINNER**

Best Album Notes
Written In Their Soul: The Stax Songwriter Demos — Robert Gordon & Deanie Parker, album notes writers (Various Artists

Best Historical Album
Written In Their Soul: The Stax Songwriter Demos — Various Artists – **WINNER**


Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
JAGUAR II — John Kercy, Kyle Mann, Victoria Monét, Patrizio “Teezio” Pigliapoco, Neal H Pogue & Todd Robinson, engineers; Colin Leonard, mastering engineer (Victoria Monét) – **WINNER**

Best Engineered Album, Classical
Contemporary American Composers — David Frost & Charlie Post, engineers; Silas Brown, mastering engineer (Riccardo Muti & Chicago Symphony Orchestra) – **WINNER”


Producer Of The Year, Classical
Elaine Martone – **WINNER**

Best Remixed Recording
“Wagging Tongue (Wet Leg Remix)” — Wet Leg, remixers (Depeche Mode) – **WINNER**

Best Immersive Audio Album
The Diary Of Alicia Keys — Alicia Keys – **WINNER**

Best Instrumental Composition
“Helena’s Theme” — John Williams, composer (John Williams) – **WINNER**

Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella
“Folsom Prison Blues” — John Carter Cash, Tommy Emmanuel, Markus Illko, Janet Robin & Roberto Luis Rodriguez, arrangers (The String Revolution Featuring Tommy Emmanuel) – **WINNER**

Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals
“In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning” — Erin Bentlage, Jacob Collier, Sara Gazarek, Johnaye Kendrick & Amanda Taylor, arrangers (säje Featuring Jacob Collier) – **WINNER**


Best Orchestral Performance
“Adès: Dante” — Gustavo Dudamel, conductor (Los Angeles Philharmonic) – **WINNER**

Best Opera Recording
“Blanchard: Champion” — Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor; Ryan Speedo Green, Latonia Moore & Eric Owens; David Frost, producer (The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; The Metropolitan Opera Chorus) – **WINNER**

Best Choral Performance
“Saariaho: Reconnaissance” — Nils Schweckendiek, conductor (Uusinta Ensemble; Helsinki Chamber Choir) – **WINNER**

Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance
“Rough Magic” — Roomful Of Teeth – **WINNER**

Best Classical Instrumental Solo
“The American Project” — Yuja Wang; Teddy Abrams, conductor (Louisville Orchestra) – **WINNER**

Best Classical Solo Vocal Album
Walking In The Dark — Julia Bullock, soloist; Christian Reif, conductor (Philharmonia Orchestra) – **WINNER**

Best Classical Compendium
Passion For Bach And Coltrane — Alex Brown, Harlem Quartet, Imani Winds, Edward Perez, Neal Smith & A.B. Spellman; Silas Brown & Mark Dover, producers – **WINNER**
Sardinia — Chick Corea; Chick Corea & Bernie Kirsh, producers

Best Contemporary Classical Composition
“Montgomery: Rounds” — Jessie Montgomery, composer (Awadagin Pratt, A Far Cry & Roomful Of Teeth) – **WINNER**

Kurated is a music sharing project.
Kris Sig Plastic V3

10 February 2024