AFTER much joggling, shuffling and raw deliberations, out of fifty three initial entries, five contenders emerged as top favourites for this year’s reggae crown at the prestigious Grammy Awards. From among these top five, an overall winner must emerge on the night of February 10th, 2013, when the 55th Grammy Awards will be staged at the Staples Centre in downtown Los Angeles, USA.
The Grammy Awards was held for the first time in the US in 1958. It was known then as the Gramophone Awards, being a ceremony through which the United States National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences honours artistic achievement, technical proficiency and all round excellence in the recording industry. Grammy judges are known to deliberately give virtually zero regard to album sales and chart positions when taking their decisions.
Though the Awards began fifty five years ago, the inclusion of the Best Reggae Album category is as recent as 28 years ago in 1985 when the crown for the category was won by the legendary Black Uhuru with their 1984 album titled Anthem. Since 1985, watching out annually for the winner of the Reggae category has been a fascinating preoccupation for reggae pundits around the world. Initially, it was known officially as the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Recording but, beginning from 1992, the arrangers started calling it Best Reggae Album, a simpler and catchier phrase.
By 2002, the organizers began to present the awards to sound engineers, studio mixers, and deserving producers in addition to regular performing musicians. Also, for the 52nd Grammy Awards, the category description guide for the reggae Grammy stipulated that eligible works must be vocal or instrumental reggae albums that contain a minimum of 51% playing time of newly recorded music including roots reggae, dancehall, rock steady and ska music.
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