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Tinariwen, Stephen Marley Take Home Grammys

By February 12, 2012

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The 2012 world, roots, and reggae music Grammy Awards were, as always, announced in an afternoon ceremony before the major pre-televised portion this year, along with dozens of other awards. The ceremony was actually quite a lot shorter this year than it has been in years past, due to a massive restructuring of the Grammy categories that slashed and distilled the categories from 109 to 78, a move that many (including rock legend Carlos Santana) accuse of being overtly racist and unfairly targeting musicians of color. I'm not sure I necessarily agree or disagree -- I think the number of categories was too large, but I'm not sure the restructuring was anywhere near as fair or as graceful as it could've or should've been.

Of the categories under my purview that still exist, though, we have a couple of deeply deserving winners to announce! Desert blues stars Tinariwen took home the Best World Music Album Grammy for their outstanding Tassili. Stephen Marley was the big winner in the Best Reggae Album category, with his wonderful Revelation Part I: The Root of Life. In the Best Regional Roots Music category, where Cajun, Zydeco, Polka, Hawaiian music, Native American Music, and others have all been grouped together, the Rebirth Brass Band won with their Rebirth of New Orleans. As the great world and roots music writer Steve Hochman pointed out, New Orleans brass band music was a genre that, until the creation of Best Regional Roots, did not really have a comfortable home among the categories, so it's nice to see the deeply deserving Rebirth Brass Band (who also performed at the pre-televised awards ceremony) take home the award. Bravo, everyone!

Read the full list of 2012 nominees in the World, Reggae, and Regional Roots Grammy categories.

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