On Sunday, Zakir Hussain and flautist Rakesh Chaurasia won the Grammy Award for Best Global Music Performance for their song ‘Pashto’, alongside American musicians Bela Fleck and Edgar Meyer.
Hussain also won his second Grammy that night, when his band ‘Shakti’, which includes British guitarists John McLaughlin and Shankar Mahadevan, drummer V Selvaganesh, and violinist Ganesh Rajagopalan, won the Global Music Album ‘This Moment’.
McLaughlin formed Shakti in 1973 with Hussain, Indian violin player L Shankar, and percussionist T H ‘Vikku’ Vinayakram (father of Selvaganesh Vinayakram). Along with mridangam player Ramnad V Raghavan, the band released their first album ‘Shakti with John Mclaughlin’ in 1975.
Billed as an “unprecedented transcontinental collaboration”, Shakti unites Eastern and Western musicians, and in the process forged the template for what is now called world music, according to the group’s official website. “Their dynamic musical hybrid immediately enthralled audiences around the globe and inspired generations of musicians, artists, and thinkers from all walks of life to embark on their own cross-cultural odysseys.”
The tabla maestro created history at the Grammys by becoming the first Indian artist to win three Grammys in a single night when he also won in the Best Contemporary Instrumental Album category. Hussain shared the Best Contemporary Instrumental Album award with Chaurasia, Fleck and Meyer for ‘As We Speak.’
Mahadevan did not fail to thank India in his speech. “Thank you boys. Thank you God, family, friends and India. India, we are proud of you,” he said in his now-viral speech. “Last but not the least, I would like to dedicate this award to my wife whom every note of my music is dedicated to,” he added.
Indian musical composer and Grammy winner Ricky Kej hailed the Indian musicians for their win. “Ustad Zakhir Hussain, the living legend creates history by winning 3 Grammys in one night!!! Rakesh Chaurasia wins 2!! .. and I am blessed to witness it,” he wrote on X.
On Shakti, Kej wrote: “SHAKTI wins a GRAMMY! 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.”
The Grammys, which opened with a high-octane Dua Lipa performance, also saw pop star Miley Cyrus win her first Grammy for her empowerment anthem ‘Flowers’.