Hours before the 55th annual Grammy Awards were telecast, several albums with Minnesota ties picked up Grammys in a pre-show ceremony—most notably the Okee Dokee Brothers, who won in the Best Children’s Album category for their 2012 album Can You Canoe?
The Brothers, known off stage as Denver-born, Minneapolis-based friends and musicians Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing, have been increasingly popular here in the Twin Cities, selling out the Cedar Cultural Center two nights in a row just this past December. Their Grammy win will certainly propel them to a new level of stardom nationally.
The bluegrass and roots-inspired Can You Canoe? was inspired by an actual canoe trip Mailander and Lansing took down the Mississippi River back in 2011, and Mailander was sure to thank that famous river when accepting the award Sunday afternoon.
Also of Minnesota interest is nominated work by Concordia College professor, conductor, and composer René Clausen. An album of his material, Life & Breathe: Choral Works by René Clausen by the Kansas City Chorale won three separate Grammys Sunday: Best Choral Performance; Producer of the Year, Classical; and Best Engineered Album, Classical.
And a Mexican singer-songwriter with Minnesota ties, Lila Downs, picked up the Best Regional Mexican Music Album for her Pecados Y Milagros. Though born and based in Oaxaca, Downs spent much of her childhood growing up in Roseville; she is is the daughter of late University of Minnesota art professor Allen Downs and Mixtec cabaret singer Anita Sanchez.
“I want to thank my mom for feeding me through her womb with the ability to live and love,” Downs said while accepting her award.
The Minnesota Orchestra was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Orchestral Performance category for their rendition of Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 5, and recently performed a celebratory concert of that work despite their recent lockout woes. They did not end up winning that award, however; the Grammy went to the San Francisco Symphony’s performance of Adams: Harmonielehre & Short Ride In A Fast Machine.
Stay tuned for more Grammys updates as the televised broadcast begins at 7 p.m., and check out Mac Wilson’s rundown of all the main award categories here. Both Mac (@cinatyte) and I (@LocalCurrent) will be live-tweeting throughout tonight’s awards ceremony—personally, I can’t wait to see what Prince’s involvement (and outfit!) will be for tonight’s show.