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The Washington Area Music Association continues to struggle with its 29th annual Wammies awards. After announcing in December a need to reopen the nominations ballot and perform a do-over because WAMA members were just nominating themselves, WAMA later noted that it had lost a major sponsor of the event, BMI, and had to postpone the awards ceremony until March 15. On Friday, Feb. 13, WAMA unveiled its new ballot, but it has some issues—-including a disturbing conflation.
Either WAMA didn’t give its ballot more than a cursory glance before sending it out or its leaders are so ignorant of the local music scene that they don’t recognize the names of Kid Congo Powers and Ian Svenonius, because a curious character named Ian Kid Congo Svenonius is nominated for best pop-rock instrumentalist. Kid Congo’s band, the Pink Monkey Birds, is not nominated, nor is Svenonius’ band, Chain & the Gang. (WAMA did nominate Powers and Chain & the Gang last year.)
Otherwise, the ballot has the same hit-and-miss qualities that WAMA has long exhibited in trying to recognize the local music. As for the misses, WAMA still does not acknowledge that go-go bounce beat bands exist, and metal bands are hard to find. At least two of City Paper jazz writer Michael West‘s favorite musicians for 2014, Tom Williams and Antonio Parker, are nowhere to be found. Also absent are a number of blues musicians who have played at Westminster Church’s weekly blues gigs, including Stacy Brooks, Memphis Gold, and David Cole, to name a few. Also noticeably absent from the ballot are such critically acclaimed D.C. rockers as Tereu Tereu, Thaylobleu, and Paperhaus, as well as rapper Fat Trel and electronic music duo Protect-U.
The voting deadline for WAMA members is Friday, Feb. 20 at 10 p.m. Wonder how votes will be counted for poor Powers and Svenonius.
Photos by Darrow Montgomery