Indian artists secured big wins at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards, bringing home a total of six Grammys, three of which were bagged by the legendary tabla player Zakir Hussain alone. The music awards took place February 4 at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles and was hosted by comedian Trevor Noah for the fourth consecutive year. Shankar Mahadevan and Zakir Hussain’s fusion band Shakti won the Best Global Music Album for This Moment, beating competition from acclaimed releases by musicians of African, Caribbean, and Peruvian origins.
The album features a total of eight songs created by John McLaughlin (guitar, guitar synth), Zakir Hussain (tabla), Shankar Mahadevan (vocalist), V Selvaganesh (percussionist), and Ganesh Rajagopalan (violinist). Shakti released This Moment on June 30 last year after a long gap of 46 years, with its last studio album, Natural Elements, releasing in 1977. This marks the fifth win for Indian artists in this category (earlier called the Best World Music Album), with the last win coming in 2013 for Ravi Shankar for his album The Living Room Sessions Pt. 1.
While it is the first Grammy win for Mahadevan, this isn’t the first rodeo for Zakir Hussain, who had previously won in the same category in 1991, along with T. H. Vinayakram, for Planet Drum, and then again in 1996 for Raga Aberi, alongside L. Shankar and T. H. Vinayakram.
Congrats Best Global Music Album winner – ‘This Moment’ Shakti. #GRAMMYs 🎶
WATCH NOW pic.twitter.com/N7vXftfaDy
— Recording Academy / GRAMMYs (@RecordingAcad) February 4, 2024
Another Grammy win for Indian artists this year comes in the category of Best Global Music Performance for the song Pashto, which features Hussain, alongside Indian flautist Rakesh Chaurasia (who won two Grammys this time) and American musicians Bela Fleck and Edgar Meyer. Other songs of Indian connection nominated in the category were Abundance in Millets by Grammy winner Falu, featuring Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Shadow Forces by Arooj Aftab and Vijay Iyer.
The album “As We Speak”, which includes the song Pashto, clinched the award for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album. It features a dozen songs by Zakir Hussain, Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer and Rakesh Chaurasia. The album offers a blend of Indian and Western musical notes with a sonic tapestry of banjo, tabla, double bass, and bansuri (that would be a combination of Indian classical, Jazz and Bluegrass music).
Multiple Grammy winner Ricky Kej expressed his joy for Indian artists’ win earlier this morning, applauding Hussain, Mahadevan, Chaurasia, V Selvaganesh, and Ganesh Rajagopalan in a post on X. Bengaluru-based Kej won his third Grammy for the album ‘Divine Tides’ last year at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards.
SHAKTI wins a #GRAMMYs #GRAMMYs2024 !!! Through this album 4 brilliant Indian musicians win Grammys!! Just amazing. India is shining in every direction. Shankar Mahadevan, Selvaganesh Vinayakram, Ganesh Rajagopalan, Ustad Zakhir Hussain. Ustad Zakhir Hussain won a second Grammy… pic.twitter.com/dJDUT6vRso
— Ricky Kej (@rickykej) February 4, 2024
India first secured its position at the Grammys in 1968, with Ravi Shankar winning in the Best Chamber Music Performance category. Since then, Indian artists have won 19 Grammys (excluding the latest wins) across categories such as Best New Age Album, Best Song Written for Visual Media, Best Compilation Soundtrack Album, and Best Classical Vocal Performance.