No more polka Grammys?!?! WTF?!?!

Sad day for Ostanek as Grammys drop polka
Bad news for Canada’s polka kings.
The Recording Academy, which puts on the Grammy Awards, has decided to eliminate the category for best polka album.
“I don’t like to see it happen,” legendary bandleader and three-time Grammy winner Walter Ostanek said Thursday from his home in St. Catharines, Ont.
“There’s room for our music.”
John Gora, who’s been nominated four times in the polka category but has never won, was more blunt.
“That sucks,” he said from Burlington. “Of course I’m disappointed.”
In a statement, the academy said polka was scrapped to “ensure the awards process remains representative of the current musical landscape.” Grammy organizers also split a folk category in two and combined two Latin categories into one.
There will be 109 awards handed out at next year’s Grammys instead of 110. The ceremony takes place Jan. 31, 2010 in Los Angeles.
Polka was by no means the only obscure category at the annual music bash.
Trophies will still be handed out for best packaging, liner notes, surround sound album, classical crossover album, Hawaiian music album and zydeco or Cajun music album.
Gora blamed the polka decision on politics, pointing out that American bandleader Jimmy Sturr has won the category 18 times.
“You can’t have a polka guy holding world records,” he said. “You can’t have Jimmy Sturr winning more Grammys than Quincy Jones, for example.”
But Sturr has long had competition from Ostanek, the undisputed Canadian polka king.
Ostanek’s treks to Los Angeles have practically become an annual Grammy tradition ñ after all, he’s racked up more than 20 nominations (his three wins came in consecutive years, from 1992-94).
In fact, the gregarious musician was nominated at this year’s show but lost out to ñ who else? ñ Sturr.
Still, even though his category is gone, Ostanek, 74, didn’t have a bad word to say about his experiences with the glitzy show.
“I personally don’t have any regrets,” he said. “I’ve met a lot of nice people. The Grammys have treated me good.”
A member of Canada’s Walk of Fame and the Order of Canada, Ostanek has appeared on The Tonight Show and some have speculated that he was the inspiration for SCTV’s famed Shmenge Brothers.
Ostanek, who owns a music shop in St. Catharines, says the Grammys have given him tremendous exposure and lamented that young polka musicians would not receive the same boost.
“I personally have had a good ride and I feel sorry for the future artists coming up,” he said. “There are fans out there and there will be more fans down the line. But that’s the way it is.”
Meanwhile, Gora worried about the effect the academy’s decision could have on polka music in general.
“It’s a bad thing (for polka),” he said. “A Grammy nomination just recognizes you, puts you on another level. It just recognizes the talent of the local guys that really don’t have the big budget to operate but are still excellent musicians.”
Gora, who plans to begin recording a new CD this weekend, said he intends to submit his recordings in the world music category now.
He certainly isn’t giving up on trying to win his first Grammy.
“Why should I?” he said. “The guys work hard and we put out good material.
“I even have a new song about the crazy bailout that’s going on with the financial and automotive companies. We have a new song about it. It’s just a 2/4 beat and why shouldn’t it be heard by others?”
Ostanek, who diligently collected autographs from his favourite artists during his trips to the Grammys, said the show made him feel special.
“Everybody wants to be a somebody,” he said. “You’re mingling with Tony Bennett and other people like him on a one-to-one basis …. I’ve had a wonderful ride.”