On the Beat

Another Grammy Award for Durham's Eric Oberstein

Arturo O'Farrill, from left, Eric Oberstein, and Kabir Sehgal pose in the press room with the award for best instrumental composition for "The Afro Latin Jazz Suite" at the 58th annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Arturo O'Farrill, from left, Eric Oberstein, and Kabir Sehgal pose in the press room with the award for best instrumental composition for "The Afro Latin Jazz Suite" at the 58th annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Make it two years in a row for Durham’s Eric Oberstein at the Grammy Awards.

In the pre-telecast portion of Monday’s Grammy ceremony, Oberstein (who is associate director of Duke Performances) won the best-instrumental-composition Grammy for his work on Arturo O’Farrill’s album “Cuba: The Conversation Continues.” That follows his Grammy win last year, for Latin jazz album.

“I’m honored to be part of the team that produced this album celebratingforward-looking music and the crumbling of walls between Cuba and the United States,” Oberstein said from Los Angeles. “I’m Cuban-American, so it was humbling and surreal to have the opportunity to record in Cuba and be in Havana when the restoration of diplomatic relations between our two countries was announced in December 2014, just 48 hours before we went into the studio with a team of Cubans and Americans working together, side by side. I’m very proud our team’s work has been recognized in this way and grateful that my collaborator and friend Arturo invited me to be part of it.”

Oberstein was the sole North Carolina winner from the pre-telecast portion of the Grammys. Rhiannon Giddens did not win her category, folk album, losing out to Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn.

Greenville native (and Pulitzer Prize winner) Caroline Shaw’s group Roomful of Teeth came up short for best chamber music/small ensemble performance, losing to Filament. And Durham-based Merge Records’ Caribou and Arden-based Mountain Home Music’s Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver also both lost in their categories (dance/electronic album and bluegrass album, respectively).

Also striking out was Fayetteville rapper J. Cole, who came up short in all three of his nominations. After losing R&B performance to The Weeknd and rap performance to Kendrick Lamar during the early program, he lost out to Lamar for best rap album during the televised portion.

Sharing in Lamar’s rap-album Grammy was Triangle producer 9th Wonder – even as Lamar’s victory shut out Triangle rapper King Mez and producer D.R.U.G.S. Beats, who contributed to Dr. Dre’s nominated “Compton” album.

Lamar won five Grammys overall but did not take the album-of-the-year main event, which went instead to Taylor Swift. That denied Triangle rapper Rapsody, who was among the artists contributing to Lamar’s album.

David Menconi: 919-829-4759, @NCDavidMenconi

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