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'Shakti' display at Grammys: Five Indians bag awards, Zakir Hussain gets three

'Shakti' display at Grammys: Five Indians bag awards, Zakir Hussain gets three
India shone at the 2024 Grammy Awards with five Indian musicians, including tabla maestro Zakir Hussain and flautist Rakesh Chaurasia, picking up the coveted prize at a glittering ceremony in Los Angeles. While Hussain was India's big winner with three Grammys, Rakesh Chaurasia picked up two. Singer Shankar Mahadevan, violinist Ganesh Rajagopalan and percussionist Selvaganesh Vinayakram, Hussain's collaborators in the fusion group Shakti, won one Grammy each at the event held at the Crypto.com Arena Sunday night.

Shakti won the 2024 Grammy Award for best global music album for "This Moment". The album features the four Indians as well as its founding member, the legendary British guitarist John McLaughlin. "This Moment", which released to critical acclaim in June 2023, is the group's first studio album in more than 45 years.

Besides his award for Shakti, Hussain won two other awards -- the best global music performance for "Pashto" and best contemporary instrumental album for "As We Speak".

The best global music performance category had eight nominees, including "Abundance In Millets", a song by Falu and featuring Prime Minister Narendra Modi, "Shadow Forces" by Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, and Shahzad Ismaily, and "Alone" by Burna Boy.

Rakesh Chaurasia, nephew of legendary flautist Hariprasad Chaurasia, won two Grammys as part of the ensemble of American banjo player Bela Fleck and American bassist Edgar Meyer for "Pashto" and "As We Speak".

"Without love and music we are nothing," Hussain said in his award acceptance speech for "Pashto".

"Thanks to the Academy, thanks to all these great musicians for giving us this beautiful (live) music today. One of our members is missing, Mr Bela Fleck.

"So from him, Mr Rakesh Chaurasia, and Mr Edgar Meyer, our deepest thanks... Families are here and without them, we are nothing. Without love, music, harmony, we are nothing," the veteran percussionist said.

This is not the first win for Hussain at the awards organised by the US-based Recording Academy. He earlier won Grammys, across categories and in solo capacity as well as in collaborations, in 1991, 1996 and 2008.

The "As We Speak" team -- Hussain, Meyer, Fleck and Chaurasia -- were also nominated for best instrumental composition for motion.

Mahadevan, who took the stage alongside Rajagopalan and Selvaganesh, gave a shout-out to McLaughlin and Hussain. While McLaughlin gave the ceremony a miss, Hussain was backstage as he had won another Grammy.

"We miss you John ji. Zakir Hussain, he just had another Grammy today. Thank you boys, God, family, friends and India. We are proud of you, India," said Mahadevan in the speech, dedicating the win to his wife Sangeeta.

Rajagopalan thanked the Recording Academy for the recognition.

A R Rahman, who won two Grammys for "Slumdog Millionaire" in 2008, shared a group selfie with Hussain, Mahadevan and Selvaganesh on Instagram.

"It's raining Grammys for India... Congrats Grammy winners #ustadzakirhussain (3grammys), @shankarmahadevan (first Grammy) and @selvaganesh (first Grammy)" the music composer captioned his post.

Three-time Grammy winner Ricky Kej, who also attended the ceremony, called 2024 the year of India at the Grammys. Kej, based out of Bengaluru, won his third Grammy last year for the album 'Divine Tides'.

"Wowwww.. this is truly India's year at the Grammys!!! Wowww.. Rakesh Chaurasia, Shankar Mahadevan, Ganesh Rajagopalan, Selvaganesh Vinayakram and Ustad Zakhir Hussain.. India is truly shining!! Thrilled!!!! 5 Indians win in a single year :-) #GRAMMYs #GRAMMYs2024," he wrote.

In a separate post, Kej hailed triple wins for Hussain and double feat for Chaurasia.

".. and Ustad Zakir Hussain, the living legend, creates history by winning 3 Grammys in one night!!! Rakesh Chaurasia wins 2!! This is a great year for India at the Grammys.. and I am blessed to witness it. @RecordingAcad #indiawinsatgrammys," he added.

Other nominees in the best global music album were "Epifanias" (Susana Baca), "History" (Bokante), "I Told Them..." (Burna Boy) and "Timeless" (Davido).

Nominees in the best contemporary instrumental album segment included "On Becoming" by House Of Waters, "Jazz Hands" by Bob James, "The Layers" by Julian Lage, and "All One" by Ben Wendel.

Sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar was the first musician from India to win a Grammy Award (best chamber music performance) in 1968. Since then, several musicians from the country, including Zubin Mehta, Anoushka Shankar, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, L Shankar, and T H Vinayakram, have received Grammys in various categories.

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