A debut album by a little known Maui singer/songwriter is Hawaii’s lone entry in the regional roots album category of the 59th annual Grammy Awards.
“E Walea” by Kalani Pe‘a was among the nominees announced today by the Recording Academy.
A Hawaiian album has never won in the regional roots category, which was established in 2011 by combining traditional genres such as Hawaiian, Native American, polka, zydeco and Cajun in a move to streamline the number of Grammy categories.
The other nominees — which once again favor Louisiana artists — are: “Broken Promised Land,” by Cajun musicians Barry Jean Ancelet and Sam Broussard; “It’s A Cree Thing,” by Native American artists Northern Cree; “Gulfstream” by Cajun and Creole band Roddie Romero and The Hub City All-Stars; and Cajun album “I Wanna Sing Right: Rediscovering Lomax In The Evangeline Country” by various artists.
The album by Pe‘a, who was born on the Big Island, features seven original Hawaiian-language songs that he wrote or co-wrote as well as remakes of two pop hits, “You Are So Beautiful” and “Always and Forever,” with Pe‘a adding Hawaiian lyrics to both.
Also of interest to Hawaii music fans are the nominees for best reggae album, with include “Rose Petals” by local favorite J Boog, who is of Samoan descent. The Californian often appears in the islands in connection with the Hawaii/San Francisco-based music label, Wash House Music Inc.
Herb Alpert, who owns a home in Kahala and will be appearing at Blue Note Hawaii Dec. 15-18, was nominated for best contemporary instrumental album for “Human Nature.”
The 59th annual Grammy Awards will air Feb. 12 on CBS from Staples Center in Los Angeles. James Corden will host.