GRAMMY fest celebration

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ONEIDA INDIAN HOMELANDS - For the third consecutive year, the Recording Academy? is honoring achievements in American Indian recording arts, and the Oneida Indian Nation and Four Directions Entertainment will congratulate all of the nominees in an official GRAMMY? Fest celebration. "A Celebration of American Music" will take place at Times Square Studios in New York on Feb. 22.

This celebration marks a milestone for American Indians since it represents the first time a 100-percent Native-owned and-operated business has been invited to host an official GRAMMY Fest event. The Los Angeles-based production company, Four Directions Entertainment, is owned by the Oneida Indian Nation.

"It is an honor to be recognized as hosts of an official GRAMMY Fest event," said Ray Halbritter, Nation Representative and Chief Executive Officer of the Oneida Indian Nation. "I want to personally thank the Recording Academy for recognizing the important contributions made by Native Americans to the American music scene and for including us in the upcoming celebration in such an elevated capacity."

The celebration will feature some of the best American Indian contemporary musical talent, including Blackfoot-African-American R&B artist Martha Redbone and Mohawk rock and blues artist, Jimmy Wolf.

Martha Redbone, the winner of Debut Artist of the Year at the 2002 Fifth Annual Native American Music Awards show in Milwaukee, performed to a crowd of 4,000 at the event hosted by Crystal Gayle. Her debut album "Home of the Brave" has received rave reviews. Billboard calls it "stunning" and Village Voice says she "is poised to be Americana's next superstar."

Jimmy Wolf, a two-time nominee at the Native American Music Awards, has released three albums since 1999 and has shared the stage with some of the world's best blues and R&B artists, including Albert Collins, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Koko Taylor, Albert King, Millie Jackson and Little Johnny Taylor.

Also, in a special ceremony, the Oneida Indian Nation and Four Directions Entertainment will present the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund with a generous monetary donation to be accepted by the Baldwin family.

This year's nominees for "Best Native American Music Album" include Burning Sky for "Spirit in the Wind," Redheart for "Sacred Season," Vince Redhouse for "Faith in the House," Randy Wood for "Round Dance the Night Away" and Mary Youngblood for "Beneath the Raven Moon".

The "Celebration of American Music" is an exclusive event for members of the Recording Academy, artists, other invited guests and the media.