Thursday February 17, 2011

Bappi Lahiri’s Grammy jury services – a bit of truth and a lot of gas?

Posted by Karthik

Update 1: Thanks to the comment by Raghu Ram, we now know that Bappi’s album does exist, at least on iTunes. iTunes’ listing does not mention Gerald Albright’s name though…perhaps a one-song collaboration? I’d let Gerald respond to that.

Update 2: Now I know why Bappi’s album turned up in search engine results only via his utterances to IANS – because the name of the album is incorrectly written. The real name seems to be ‘World Peace Love & Harmony’, while the IANS interview quotes Bappi as saying that the album is titled, ‘World, Peace And harmony’. No wonder!

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Note: I did NOT write this mail and do this research. But the person who did it (he does not want to be identified) was forced to take this down when he blogged about it. I’m merely carrying the original piece that made some people uncomfortable.

While I’m very proud that an Indian is part of the Grammy Jury (more about this below), I’m definitely not at all pleased about the way he adds generous bits of his own stuff to spin whatever little honor he was bestowed on. Moreover, what is terribly bizarre is the way almost all kinds of mainstream media reporting this ‘news’ only based on Bappi Lahiri’s utterances to IANS, while this information was available to anyone in the media with an email address.

Here’s the email from a publicly available email handle belonging to the Grammy – memservices@grammy.com – updates from the Grammy representative is added as a highlight below each paragraph that originally in The Economic Times.

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MUMBAI: Bollywood music composer Bappi Lahiri has added another feather to his cap by becoming the first Indian composer to be in the Grammy jury for the awards in 2012.

There is no such thing as a jury. We have voting members who cast their ballot during GRAMMY balloting. He is currently a non-voting member. However, he may qualify for a Voting membership but we would need to do some additional research on our end to see if he qualifies. Also, we don’t track who is first in anything as it relates to membership. He might be the first Indian composer but there would be no way for us to verify that information.

“I will be a jury member in the Grammy awards next year. I will be among the members, who vote to decide a winner. This is the first time an Indian composer is being given this place,” Lahiri told IANS.

Again, he is currently NOT a Voting member and there is noway to confirm a claim that it’s the first time an Indian composer has been made a Voting member.

This year Lahiri had also sent in his album “World, Peace And harmony” for the prestigious awards. It got him a spot in the top 50 Grammy albums but, however, lost out on the main five nominations.

This is not 100% accurate. His album MAY have been submitted for consideration. I cannot verify that at the moment. But if it had it just means we accepted it because it met our criteria. To say it got him a spot in the Top 50 albums is untrue. It may mean that 50 albums were submitted in that category. But albums are not “ranked” during the submission process or during any part of the process. The only claim that could be made by anyone is that they were in the top 5, making them a GRAMMY Nominee.

In the album released only in US, the 58-year-old composer has collaborated with popular saxophone player Gerald Albright and himself sang and also played the tabla.

If this is true, then he probably would qualify to be a Voting member, but we would need to research it. I am going to put a member of my staff on it. We may change him to Voting depending on what we discover.

This year the Grammy Awards will be presented Feb 13 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

This is accurate.

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Another interesting finding that I managed to do beyond this email. Bappi’s album, ‘World, Peace And harmony’ where he is supposed to have worked with American jazz musician Gerald Albright also seems to be in a limbo. The album finds a mention ONLY via Bappi’s IANS interview all over the net. There is no other source anywhere online (via  Google search) to show that this album exists or has been released in the US. Gerald’s own website shows that his only release in 2010 was ‘Pushing the envelope’ and it has been nominated for the Grammy under ‘Best Pop Instrumental Album’. I had written to Gerald’s image management firm, Chapman Management and was hoping to hear more from them on this topic. But it has been a week since I wrote and intend to try other methods of confirming this piece from Bappi’s interview.

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