Friday, January 31, 2014

Captain Phillips (DVD REVIEW)

Captain Phillips

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Six-Time Oscar-Nominated Thriller Released on DVD

            On April 9, 2009, the Maersk Alabama, an American container ship headed for Mombasa, Kenya, was hijacked on the high seas in an area that had become very popular with Somali pirates preying on international commerce. Despite having recently practiced evasive maneuvers in the event of just such an attack, the vessel’s 20-man crew’s flare gun and fire hoses proved no match for the fearless, heavily-armed quartet high on an herbal stimulant called chat.
            After climbing aboard, the drug-emboldened buccaneers abandoned the idea of commandeering the cumbersome, 500+ foot-long craft carrying 17,000 metric tons of cargo, since all they were really after was a multimillion-dollar ransom. Instead, they opted to take Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) hostage on one of his own lifeboats as a very valuable bargaining chip.
            However, when their demands fell on deaf ears, a standoff ensued in the middle of the ocean. Soon, a destroyer stationed near the Gulf of Aden, the USS Bainbridge, was dispatched to the scene, and its Captain, Frank Castellano (Yul Vasquez), feigned negotiating while simultaneously securing permission from President Obama to hatch a daring rescue plan.
            Nominated for a half-dozen Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor (Barkhad “I’m the captain now!” Abdi), Captain Phillips is certain to invite comparison to the somewhat similarly-plotted Zero Dark Thirty, given how both recount a real-life mission mounted by a crack team of Navy SEALs. The difference, however, is that this adventure amounts to little more than a high-anxiety orgy of worry unfolding from the perspective of the imperiled kidnap victim, while the relatively-cerebral Zero Dark Thirty devoted most of its attention to delineating the intricate details involved in the complicated manhunt for Osama bin Laden.
            Curiously, this movie repeatedly makes the presumably politically-correct point of reminding us that these madmen are not Muslim terrorists, but without offering much of a hint as to their motivations besides money. Nevertheless, Tom Hanks does bring his A-game here, even if he’s cooped-up in close quarters acting opposite a B-support cast (Barkhad Abdi, Mahat M. Ali, Barkhad Abdi and Faysal Ahmed) for the bulk of the picture.
            Unfortunately, his one-note abductors are painted as soulless, primitive natives right out of a typical Tarzan flick. Sure, the bloodlust payoff is bigger when the bad guys are the frightening embodiment of pure evil with no redeeming qualities. Yet, this production would’ve benefited immeasurably from just a little development of the villains’ characters. 
            Shades of Cast Away (2000), with Tom Hanks being tortured by sadists as opposed to talking to a volleyball for over an hour while waiting for the cavalry to arrive.

Very Good (3 stars)
PG-13 for intense violence, sustained terror, bloody images and drug abuse In English and Somali with subtitles
Running time: 134 minutes
Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 
DVD Extras: Commentary with director Paul Greengrass; and Capturing Captain Phillips—in depth behind-the-scenes featurettes on the making of the film.

To see a trailer for Captain Phillips, visit:   


Guiou: The Other Blacks (BOOK REVIEW)

Guiou: The Other Blacks
The Afro-Jamaican Presence in Guatemala
by Gloria J. Arnold
Tate Publishing  
Paperback, $12.00
96 pages, Illustrated
ISBN: 978-1-62746-147-4

Book Review by Kam Williams

[This book] chronicles the journey of a group of Jamaican pioneers who went to Guatemala during the early 1900s and carved out a life for themselves and their descendants... Though a miniscule part of the African and Jamaican Diaspora, Guiou is another step in the unveiling and unraveling of our past, as it documents the lives, struggles and accomplishments of a people who, in spite of our adversity, have managed to excel in the areas of academics, medicine and sports…” 
-- Excerpted from the Preface (page 13)

            Did you know that Guatemala once had both an English and Spanish-speaking black community? The latter group, known as Garifuna, arrived from Nigeria by way of St. Vincent where they blended with Carib Indians beginning in 1635 before migrating to Guatemala.
            By contrast, the former group was brought there to work the fields only about a hundred years ago by the United Fruit Company, settling in an area called Colonia. These English-speaking Afro-Jamaicans, or Guiou, gradually disappeared over the intervening decades, but not before making a lasting impression upon their adopted homeland and elsewhere.
            Written by Gloria J. Arnold, Guiou: The Other Blacks is a meticulously-researched and generously illustrated text dedicated to documenting the cultural contributions of Guatemala’s English-speaking blacks. The author ostensibly undertook this challenge as a labor of love, given her Afro-Jamaican Guatemalan roots.
            Born in Guatemala, Ms. Arnold moved to New York City with her family back in the Fifties as an adolescent, around the time many other Guiou left for America, too. Sadly, most of the friends she made in the States knew next to nothing about her native country, especially regarding its black population.
            So, as an adult, despite the fact that much of the Jamaican presence back there had gradually disappeared due to assimilation and emigration, she made it her mission to honor what remains of her vanishing traditions. To that end, she has preserved here an informative mix of photos and personal anecdotes, recorded and oral history, bios of leaders and luminaries, and a genealogy of Afro-Jamaican Guatemalan surnames. And she even included recipes for a variety of local delicacies, like Fish Escovitch, Fried Breadfruit, Bulla Cake and Sorrel Wine.  
            As much a history book as a heartfelt tribute reflecting a proud Guiou’s deep appreciation of her ancestors and her rich cultural heritage.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Alice Walker (INTERVIEW)

Alice Walker
The “Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth” Interview
with Kam Williams

Alice in Walkerland!

Alice Walker has been defined as one of the key international writers of the 20th Century. She made history as the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction as well as the National Book Award in 1983 for her novel The Color Purple — one of the few literary books to capture the popular imagination and leave a permanent imprint. The award-winning novel served as the inspiration for Steven Spielberg’s 1985 film and was adapted for the stage, opening at New York City’s Broadway Theatre in 2005, and capturing a Tony Award for best leading actress in a musical in 2006.
An internationally celebrated author, poet and activist, Alice’s books include seven novels, four collections of short stories, four children’s books, and volumes of essays and poetry. She has written many other best sellers, too, among them, Possessing the Secret of Joy (1992), which detailed the devastating effects of female genital mutilation and led to the 1993 documentary Warrior Marks, a collaboration with the British-Indian filmmaker Pratibha Parmar, with Walker as executive producer.
In 2001, Alice was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame and, in 2006, she was honored as one of the inaugural inductees into the California Hall of Fame. In 2007, her archives were opened to the public at Emory University.
In 2010, she presented the keynote address at The 11th Annual Steve Biko Lecture at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and was awarded the Lennon/Ono Grant for Peace, in Reykjavik, Iceland. Alice donated the financial award to an orphanage for the children of AIDS victims in Kenya.
She has served as a jurist for two sessions of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, and writes a regular blog on her website: Here, she talks about her career and about the documentary “Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth” which premieres on PBS on Friday, February 7th at 9 p.m. ET/PT (check local listings)  

Kam Williams: Hi Alice. I’m so honored to have this opportunity to interview you.
Alice Walker: Oh, I’m so glad to be talking with you, too, Kam.

KW: The only time I came close to meeting you before now was back in the Eighties one summer, when I was invited to a party out in the Hamptons that you were rumored to be attending. 
AW: Oh, I did have a few friends near there, one in Montauk, another on Fire Island. But oh, that was a long time ago. 

KW: I’ll be mixing in my questions with some from readers. Harriet Pakula-Teweles asks: how do you feel about having the biopic coming out about you?
AW: Well, it’s very interesting because I almost never do anything for Black History Month, because I feel it’s just another way to separate us. It’s amusing to me that it would be coming out as a Black History presentation on PBS. But on the level of the film, I like it. And I love the producer [Shaheen Haq] and the filmmaker [Pratibha Parmar]. I think they were incredibly devoted. They did it on a hope and a prayer, and at one point had to rely on crowd-sourcing because of the huge expenses.

KW: I learned so much about you from the film. For instance, I was surprised to hear that Howard Zinn had been a professor of yours in college.
AW: He was already teaching at Spelman when I arrived as a freshperson. Then, I took his class the following year, because I had gone to the Soviet Union and wanted to learn more about Russia, and I think he was the only person in all of Atlanta who knew anything about Russian literature, which I loved. He was teaching Russian literature, the language, and some of the politics. We became really good friend when I took his class, but then he was fired.  

KW: For doing more than just teaching.
AW: He helped us desegregate Atlanta. That was moving because he took a lot of abuse for that. He and Staughton Lynd, a fellow professor who was also from the North, stood with us. They were certainly behind us. In fact, they often stood in front of us. This had a huge impact on me. But one of the reasons I was very careful about speaking about the relationship I had with him and Staughton was because, in a racist society, if you acknowledge a deep love for and a deep debt owed to white teachers, they tend to discredit your own parents and your own community. And I was very unhappy about that because I come from somewhere and from specific black people in the South, including my parents, who built our first school, and rebuilt it after it was burned to the ground. And they used to bake pies and cakes to raise money to keep it going. So, I learned to struggle from a very early way in a way that was truly indigenous to the South. You have to keep at it! [Chuckles] 

KW: The film also left me with an appreciation of your deep connection to nature. I have that, too. I go for a walk in the woods every day. It’s very spiritual to me.
AW: The forest is the first cathedral. I felt that from the time I was a child. I credit my mother with that. I used to think it came from her Native-American side. Whichever it was, she instinctively connected with nature, and taught me that. Church just could not hold my spirit. It was a beautiful, little church, too. As sweet as could be. It was at a bend in the road, with a big, oak tree sheltering it. Still, I wandered right out the window, mentally and emotionally, got into the trees, and never left.      

KW: Kate Newell says: I'm more than awestruck about this opportunity to ask you a question. How did you feel about the screen adaptation of The Color Purple? 
AW: I was worried about the film at first, because I’d never had a movie made of any of my work on a big scale like that. There had only been a couple of small, student efforts before that. The Color Purple was so overwhelming that I actually brought a magic wand to New York City for the premiere, and pointed it at the screen in the hope that movie didn’t embarrass all of us. Lo and behold, it turned out to be a beautiful picture. The audience was so into it, gracious and emotional, laughing when they should be laughing, crying when they should be crying. I got to feel it as a living work of art, as something useful. My interest in creating anything is that it be useful. People can love the beauty of it, but they should also use it to grow, to deepen.    

KW: What was it like dealing with the blowback for the next several years coming from critics who said The Color Purple was anti-black men?
AW: It actually lasted for a decade. How could you imagine that people could be mad at you for so long? I felt a great deal of weariness. But because it wasn’t the first time that I had been heavily criticized, I learned that you just keep going and turn to other things. Which I did. I went on to write “The Temple of My Familiar” which may be my favorite of my novels, because it was a miraculous gift that I had no idea how I got it. I had a dream one night that I went down into a non-existent sub-basement of my little house in Brooklyn. There was a trap door and I went down further and found these indigenous South American people speaking Spanish and making all these incredible things. I didn’t speak a word of Spanish but I sensed that I was being guided to a new focus. And to make a long story short, I ended up going to Mexico, I learned one word, “leche,” which means milk, and I started writing this novel. So, the blowback, in a way, faced me in a new direction which was very interesting.     

KW: Attorney Bernadette Beekman asks: What did you think of the stage version of The Color Purple? 
AW: I so loved working with the musicians. It was just wonderful! It was great and I felt like it was such a tonic for people to see it.

KW: Dinesh Sharma says: In my new book, "The Global Obama," Professor Ali Mazrui refers to the President as a "great man of history."  Professor Henry Louis Gates of Harvard agrees. You have written several essays about Barack Obama. How do you feel about his presidency thus far? 
AW: I’m very disappointed in Obama. I was very much in support of him in the beginning, but I cannot support war. I cannot support droning. I cannot support capitulating to the banks. I cannot support his caving in to Netanyahu [Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu]. There’s a long list of this administration’s initiatives that I find unsupportable. I think many black people support him because they’re so happy to have handsome black man in the White House. But it doesn’t make me happy if that handsome black man in the White House is betraying all of our traditional values of peace, peoplehood, caring about strangers, feeding the hungry, and not bombing children. I’m very disappointed. More than disappointed, I think I’ve actually returned to a kind of realism about how the world works. That’s helpful. Because in a way, no matter who’s in charge of the corporation that the United States is, the direction in which it is taken seems to be inexorable. So, you just get the job of being the front man for four or eight years. Now, most people realize that’s what you are.      

KW: Talking about being a good or bad president is like talking about being a good or bad rapist. 
AW: [LOL] That’s a very good thought.

KW: I think the black community sort of got checkmated in terms of its own agenda. And very vocal folks who try to hold Obama accountable are having their blackness questioned or their blackness revoked, like Tavis Smiley.  
AW: That’s okay. It’s better to have your blackness taken away than to stand there and lie about who you actually are. That’s the trap. In fact, Cynthia McKinney just sent me a piece by somebody about how, for the first time in history, black people are supporting the wars, the military strikes on Syria, and other awful things, as if they woke up and became entirely different people. It’s totally distressing! Look at the NDAA [The National Defense Authorization Act], look at the Patriot Act, look at the NSA, and the ruthless droning of civilians. I pretty much lost it when they droned the grandmother who was teaching her grandchildren how to pick okra. It seems to me the ones who are the real threat are the ones who are in power.

KW: Film director Rel Dowdell asks: Did Danny Glover fully personify the character Mister in The Color Purple?
AW: No. I love Danny, and he did a good job, but no. Mister is a small man. Danny is huge! And that matters, because what I was showing was how even a small man can be a terrorist in the home because of all the patriarchal weight that he brings to any situation. That would’ve been very powerful. In a way, making Mister so big undercut that message because we’re kind of afraid of big people anyway, because they take up so much room. I felt that at times there wasn’t enough subtlety in his abuse of Celie and her sister, Nettie, because what I’ve discovered and observed is that often it’s the subtle oppression that deeply wounds the soul. The parting for instance, which is so horrendous, where Nettie leaves, and is forced out by Mister. In the novel, that’s handled with a lot of restraint. Filmed with that restraint it would’ve been just as powerful, even with a little Mister, just by virtue of his being a man and having patriarchy as his backup.  

KW: Are you interested in writing your own screenplay?
AW: At this point, no, because I have gone back to writing poetry, which I absolutely love. And I write on my blog, which I enjoy. And life being what it is, every once in a while I’ll have a book which will have developed without my actually having paid that much attention to that part of it. I’m really only interested in each day’s gift.  

KW: I was struck by something you said in Beauty in Truth: “The pain we inflict on children is the pain we later endure as a society.”
AW: Boy, is that scary, when you consider what we’re doing to children all over the planet. They’re the ones who are truly being terrorized by all the madness adults are perpetrating. 

KW: Generational warfare. In the U.S., we even have it here between the prison industrial complex and the indentured servitude of the young via college loans they can never repay.
AW: They’re supposed to be slaves. And those that aren’t just slaves, can become drug addicts. And the drug addicts that are caught get put into the prison system to make a profit for the people who own the prisons. It’s all worked out. 

KW: Novelist and short story writer Suzan Greenberg was wondering whether you had any idea that your short story "Everyday Use" would be so widely anthologized?   
AW: I did not, and I’m puzzled that it is, because it’s not the story that I would’ve picked to be anthologized so widely. I think it’s chosen partly because it reinforces some people’s notions of the Deep South, Southerners and black people. That story has its own power, but it also permits a kind of distance, as if it happened in the far past. I think that’s why people use it opposed to more gritty stories like “Advancing Luna“ or “Laurel,” which come out of the struggle in the South in the Sixties but are very modern in terms of their sense of white and black people grappling with issues of interracial rape and interracial love. I think it’s hard for people to read those stories as dispassionately.

KW: Editor/Legist Patricia Turnier says: You have been a successful authoress for decades. Only about a dozen female laureates have won the literature Nobel Prize since its inception. Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin had to adopt the pseudonym George Sand to become a French novelist and memoirist. Historically, it has been difficult for women to thrive in the literary world and the word “writeress” has been excluded or erased from some dictionaries. How can we break the glass ceiling as authoresses and have our voices heard more?
AW: You can start by not tacking that “ess” onto the end of everything, because you’re either a poet or you’re not, and either a writer or not. You don’t have to accept someone else’s idea that you need to have a tail that shows that you’re wearing a dress. [LOL] You are what you are. If you’re an actor, you’re an actor. You don’t have to be an actress. As far as a glass ceiling, I feel that all you can do is give it your absolute best with whatever gifts the universe has given you. And if you make it in some way that other people can recognize, that’s fine. But even if you don’t quote-unquote make it, you’re fine, if you’ve given it your whole heart and soul. You’re totally in sync with your purpose and with the universe. And that’s fine.  

KW: Patricia also says, you learned to read at a very young age. You were in the first grade when you were four years-old. Illiteracy is still an ongoing issue around the world. Do you think that exposing a child as early as possible to education can be a determinant in decreasing the level of illiteracy on a global scale?
AW: I know from having had a child, and from having been a child myself, that children will copy you. So, the best way to get them to read, is to read. The best way to get them to do anything is to do it yourself, and they will absolutely copy you. That way, you don’t have to worry about what’s supposedly age appropriate, a child will pick something up when the child is ready.    

KW: It was heartbreaking in Beauty in Truth to hear you talk about being estranged from your daughter. It was very touching.
AW: Hmmm… I like hearing that it was moving, and provocative in a way, because these things do happen to us. The very thing you think will never happen to you, happens! And then you get to see, oh, that’s because life is alive! [LOL]

KW: Toni Banks says: Thanks for “Meridian.” It’s my favorite work of yours. She asks, was the novel biographical fiction?
AW: Not really. There was a young woman in SNCC [the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee] whose name was Ruby Doris [Smith-Robinson].  She was someone I didn’t really know, but I heard about how she was having such a really hard time with the men in the organization. That was one of my early introductions to patriarchal behavior which undermines progress. If the men are going to try to keep the women down, everybody’s going to be stuck back there somewhere. So, she was a person I was thinking about, and I also wanted to write about the sort of spiritual and inspirational work that a lot of people in the movement were doing.   

KW: Reverend Florine Thompson says: Thank you for making the color purple the sacred. If there was no color purple, what other color might you drape yourself in?
AW: Well, I don’t really drape myself in purple, although people have sent me some of everything in purple. So, I get purple shawls and coats and hats and bathrobes and boots… You could pick any color, although purple is kind of rare. The point about the color purple is just that to really see a color is so remarkable! Anything that you can see that is beautiful is a gift. Blue… green… black… yellow… All these colors are amazing.

KW: Reverend Thompson also asks: What's the most important thing you've found in your mother's garden?
AW: Patience, because what gardening teaches us is that if you plant things, they’ll come up. But you have to be willing to wait for them to bear fruit because things are seasonal.  

KW: Finally, Rev Thompson asks: What advice might you offer young adolescent females searching for positive self-identity?
AW: Love yourself. Just love yourself. In fact, the love of the self cures every kind of problem you have with yourself. For instance, if someone calls you nappy-headed, it rolls right off your body, if you love nappy hair.
Or if someone calls you buck-toothed or too black, that won’t be a problem if you love being buck-toothed or black. If you love it, then so what. The development of self-love cures many of the ills that people suffer from.

KW: Thanks again Alice, it’s been a privilege.
AW: Thank you, Kam

Monday, January 27, 2014

2014 Grammys Recap

2014 Grammys Recap
by Kam Williams

A Royal Night to Remember!
From Queen B’s Wardrobe Malfunction to Queen Latifah’s Mass Wedding   

            Although the Grammys were dominated by the French robot duo Daft Punk, rapper/producer team Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and New Zealand teen singing sensation Lorde, their wins were easily upstaged by memorable appearances by a couple of black queens, namely, Queen B and Queen Latifah. For, the night to remember’s highlights featured a wardrobe malfunction during Beyoncés performance of “Drunk in Love” and Reverend Latifah’s officiating the marriage of 33 couples with the power vested in her by the State of California following Macklemore’s spirited rendition of the gay anthem “Same Love.”           
            Did anybody think about Nas’ pronouncement that “Hip-hop is dead!” on a night when the genre’s artists netting the most accolades were no longer black gangsta rappers but white gay rights advocates preaching tolerance of sexual preferences? Talk about jumping the shark! The only other jaw-dropper was the sight of Pharrell in that oversized, Canadian Mountie hat.

Complete List of 2014 Grammy Winners

Record of the Year
“Get Lucky,” Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers
Album of the Year
“Random Access Memories,” Daft Punk
Song of the Year
Joel Little and Ella Yelich-O’Connor (“Royals,” Lorde)
New Artist
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Pop Solo Performance
“Royals,” Lorde
Pop Performance, Duo or Group
“Get Lucky,” Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers
Pop Instrumental Album
“Steppin’ Out,” Herb Alpert
Pop Vocal Album
“Unorthodox Jukebox,” Bruno Mars
Dance Recording
“Clarity,” Zedd and Foxes
Dance/Electronica Album
“Random Access Memories,” Daft Punk
Traditional Pop Vocal Album
“To Be Loved,” Michael Bublé
Rock Performance
“Radioactive,” Imagine Dragons
Metal Performance
“God Is Dead?,” Black Sabbath
Rock Song
Dave Grohl, Paul McCartney, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear (“Cut Me Some Slack,” Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear)
Rock Album
“Celebration Day,” Led Zeppelin
Alternative Music Album
“Modern Vampires of the City,” Vampire Weekend
R&B Performance
“Something,” Snarky Puppy and Lalah Hathaway
Traditional R&B Performance
“Please Come Home,” Gary Clark Jr.
R&B Song
James Fauntleroy, Jerome Harmon, Timothy Mosley and Justin Timberlake (“Pusher Love Girl,” Justin Timberlake)
R&B Album
“Girl on Fire,” Alicia Keys
Rap Performance
“Thrift Shop,” Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Wanz
Rap/Sung Collaboration
“Holy Grail,” Jay Z and Justin Timberlake
Rap Song
Ben Haggerty and Ryan Lewis (“Thrift Shop,” Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Wanz)
Rap Album
“The Heist,” Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Urban Contemporary Album
“Unapologetic,” Rihanna
Country Solo Performance
“Wagon Wheel,” Darius Rucker
Country Performance, Duo or Group
“From This Valley,” the Civil Wars
Country Song
Shane McAnally, Kacey Musgraves and Josh Osborne (“Merry Go ’Round,” Kacey Musgraves)
Country Album
“Same Trailer Different Park,” Kacey Musgraves
New Age Album
“Love’s River,” Laura Sullivan
Improvised Jazz Solo
“Orbits,” Wayne Shorter
Jazz Vocal Album
“Liquid Spirit,” Gregory Porter
Jazz Instrumental Album
“Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue,” Terri Lyne Carrington
Large Jazz Ensemble Album
“Night in Calisia,” Randy Brecker, Wlodek Pawlik Trio and Kalisz Philharmonic
Latin Jazz Album
“Song for Maura,” Paquito D’Rivera and Trio Corrente
Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance
“Break Every Chain (Live),” Tasha Cobbs
Gospel Song
Tye Tribbett (“If He Did It Before ... Same God (Live),” Tye Tribbett)
Contemporary Christian Music Song
David Garcia, Ben Glover and Christopher Stevens (“Overcomer,” Mandisa)
Gospel Album
“Greater Than (Live),” Tye Tribbett
Contemporary Christian Music Album
“Overcomer,” Mandisa
Latin Pop Album
“Vida,” Draco Rosa
Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album
“Treinta Días,” la Santa Cecilia
Regional Mexican or Tejano Album
“A Mi Manera,” Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea
Tropical Latin Album
“Pacific Mambo Orchestra,” Pacific Mambo Orchestra
American Roots Song
Edie Brickell and Steve Martin (“Love Has Come for You,” Steve Martin and Edie Brickell)
Americana Album
“Old Yellow Moon,” Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell
Bluegrass Album
“The Streets of Baltimore,” Del McCoury Band
Blues Album
“Get Up!,” Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite
Folk Album
“My Favorite Picture of You,” Guy Clark
Regional Roots Music Album
“Dockside Sessions,” Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience
Reggae Album
“Ziggy Marley in Concert,” Ziggy Marley
World Music Album
“Savor Flamenco,” Gipsy Kings
“Live: Singing for Peace Around the World,” Ladysmith Black Mambazo (tie)
Children’s Album
“Throw a Penny in the Wishing Well,” Jennifer Gasoi
Spoken Word Album
“America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t,” Stephen Colbert
Comedy Album
“Calm Down Gurrl,” Kathy Griffin
Musical Theater Album
“Kinky Boots,” Billy Porter and Stark Sands, artists; Sammy James Jr., Cyndi Lauper, Stephen Oremus and William Wittman, producers; Cyndi Lauper, composer/lyricist
Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media
“Sound City: Real to Reel,” Butch Vig, compilation producer
Score Soundtrack for Visual Media
“Skyfall,” Thomas Newman, composer
Song Written for Visual Media
Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth, “Skyfall,” from “Skyfall” (Adele)
Instrumental Composition
“Pensamientos for Solo Alto Saxophone and Chamber Orchestra,” Clare Fischer (the Clare Fischer Orchestra)
Instrumental Arrangement
“On Green Dolphin Street,” Gordon Goodwin (Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band)
Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)
“Swing Low,” Gil Goldstein (Bobby McFerrin and Esperanza Spalding)
Producer of the Year, Nonclassical
Pharrell Williams
Producer of the Year, Classical
David Frost
Remixed Recording, Nonclassical
“Summertime Sadness (Cedric Gervais Remix),” Cedric Gervais, remixer
Orchestral Performance
“Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 4,” Osmo Vänskä, conductor (Minnesota Orchestra)
Opera Recording
“Adès: The Tempest,” Thomas Adès, conductor; Simon Keenlyside, Isabel Leonard, Audrey Luna and Alan Oke; Jay David Saks, producer (the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; the Metropolitan Opera Chorus)
Choral Performance
“Pärt: Adam’s Lament,” Tõnu Kaljuste, conductor (Tui Hirv and Rainer Vilu, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Sinfonietta Riga and Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Latvian Radio Choir and Vox Clamantis)
Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance
“Roomful of Teeth,” Brad Wells and Roomful of Teeth
Classical Instrumental Solo
“Corigliano: Conjurer — Concerto for Percussionist and String Orchestra,” Evelyn Glennie
Classical Vocal Solo
“Winter Morning Walks,” Dawn Upshaw (Maria Schneider; Jay Anderson, Frank Kimbrough and Scott Robinson; Australian Chamber Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra)
Classical Compendium
“Hindemith: Violinkonzert; Symphonic Metamorphosis; Konzertmusik,” Christoph Eschenbach, conductor
Contemporary Classical Composition
“Schneider, Maria: Winter Morning Walks,” Maria Schneider (Dawn Upshaw, Jay Anderson, Frank Kimbrough, Scott Robinson and Australian Chamber Orchestra)
Music Video
“Suit & Tie,” Justin Timberlake and Jay Z
Music Film
“Live Kisses,” Paul McCartney
Recording Package
“Long Night Moon,” Sarah Dodds and Shauna Dodds, art directors (Reckless Kelly)
Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package
“Wings Over America (Deluxe Edition),” Simon Earith and James Musgrave, art directors (Paul McCartney and Wings)
Album Notes
“Afro Blue Impressions (Remastered & Expanded),” Neil Tesser (John Coltrane)
Historical Album
“Charlie Is My Darling — Ireland 1965,” Teri Landi, Andrew Loog Oldham & Steve Rosenthal, compilation producers; Bob Ludwig, mastering engineer (the Rolling Stones)
“The Complete Sussex and Columbia Albums,” Leo Sacks, compilation producer; Joseph M. Palmaccio, Tom Ruff and Mark Wilder, mastering engineers (Bill Withers) (tie)
Engineered Album, Nonclassical
“Random Access Memories,” Peter Franco, Mick Guzauski, Florian Lagatta and Daniel Lerner, engineers; Antoine Chabert and Bob Ludwig, mastering engineer (Daft Punk)
Surround Sound Album
“Live Kisses,” Al Schmitt, surround mix engineer; Tommy LiPuma, surround producer (Paul McCartney)
Best Engineered Album, Classical
“Winter Morning Walks,” David Frost, Brian Losch and Tim Martyn, engineers; Tim Martyn, mastering engineer (Dawn Upshaw, Maria Schneider, Australian Chamber Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra)