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500 and counting

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We've received more than 500 responses so far by e-mail, letter and Web surveys for our annual Indy Music Awards Call for Nominations.

And as you might guess, three categories--rock, hip hop, country--have receive the most attention. But since we're keeping the nomination process open for another two weeks, we'd like to see more people with interest and knowledge in bluegrass, gospel, blues and folk weigh in on who they think had an outstanding 2005.

The ballot is online through our music blog at www.indyweekblogs.com/scan and we continue to print nomination forms in the paper.

Tough field
By the time you read this, the ballots will be in and accountants at Deloitte will be tabulating the votes for this year's GRAMMYs. Of particular interest this year will be how Durham's Mamadou Diabate fares in the field of Best Traditional World Music Album (Vocal or Instrumental).

His Behmanka, released by World Village, is up against some pretty tough and worldly competition, including Para Todos Ustedes's Los Pleneros De La 21, Faryad's Masters of Persian Music, Tibetan Master Chants by Lama Tashi and In the Heart of the Moon, a collaboration by Mali guitar master Ali Farka Touré and Toumani Diabaté.

Mamadou and the rest of us find out who won on Wednesday, Feb. 8 at the 48th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The show airs on CBS at 8 p.m.

Ralph sells out
Ralph Stanley's keening voice seems to originate from the corner of the soul where hope and joy do their best to obscure the shadow of death. Just listen to his version of "O Death" from the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, a performance that introduced him to hundreds of thousands of people who had managed to not hear him during his previous 50 years of recording some of the highest and most lonesome bluegrass music ever made, starting in the Stanley Brothers alongside his brother Carter. Dr. Stanley will come down from the mountain for a sold-out show at UNC's Memorial Hall on Thursday, Jan. 12. Sharing the bill is another genuine national treasure, the Red Clay Ramblers, whose string-band blend of gospel, Dixieland, country, pop and bluegrass has made them favorites on the stages of both music clubs and Broadway. The show starts at 8 p.m.

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