They were the little canoe that could. The Okee Dokee Brothers, a little known duo from Minneapolis, captured the Grammy for best children's recording on Sunday for "Can You Canoe?" It was about a canoe trip that Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing took on the Mississippi River.
In the pre-telecast ceremonies, Mailander thanked the Recording Academy for "recognizing indie-made children's music. All the nominees are wonderful in our opinion."
Lansing told the Grammy audience that the making kids music was a dream of the two childhood pals from Denver who moved to the Twin Cities in 2007. "But we never saw this coming," he said.
The album has sold about 10,000 copies.
Mailander also pulled what was probably a first at the Grammys, by thanking "the Mississippi River for inspiring the music."
Minnesota’s other high-profile Grammy nominee, the Minnesota Orchestra, missed out on best orchestral performance, for Sibelius’ Symphonies Nos. 2 and 5, conducted by Osmo Vänskä. That prize went to the San Francisco Symphony, under Michael Tilson Thomas, for John Adams’ “Harmonielehre” and “Short Ride in a Fast Machine.”
But “Life and Breath: Choral Works by Rene Clausen,” an album featuring compositions by the longtime conductor of Concordia College Choir in Moorhead, Minn., won two Grammys, for best choral performance (awarded to the Kansas City Chorale and conductor Charles Bruffy) and best engineered classical album.
“It is just very heartwarming and exciting, and I’m just grateful and humbled that this has all happened,” he told the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. “It was nothing that I expected. Just all of this has come out of the blue.”
And Minnesota-raised singer-songwriter Lila Downs won a Grammy for best regional Mexican album, for “Pecados y Milagros.”