Hawaiian 'slack key' album wins first Grammy in unique island genre

LOS ANGELES -- Hawaiian music won its first Grammy.

Producer/guitarist Charles Brotman and his Slack Key Guitar, Vol. 2 was awarded a Grammy in the new category of Best Hawaiian Music Album on Feb. 13 at the 47th annual awards program in Los Angeles.

Brotman accepted the award with the word mahalo, Hawaiian for thank-you, during the pre-telecast portion of the show. (Only 15 of the 107 award presentations are aired.)

Slack Key, on the Palms Record label, is an instrumental compilation featuring a number of musicians, including John Cruz, Keoki Kahumoku, Bryan Kessler, Sonny Lim, Jeff Peterson and Ken Emerson. Lim, Peterson and Emerson joined Brotman on stage.

For us, this wasnt a battle to win an award, but to represent a very special kind of music, and Hawaii, Brotman said.

Ki hoalu, which means loosen the key, is the Hawaiian-language name for slack key, the fingerpicked style unique to Hawaii.

A criterion of the new category is that 51% of the lyrics must be sung in Hawaiian.

To contact reporter Brian Berusch, send e-mail to [email protected].

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