Shakti brings home Grammy for Best Global Music Album

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The fusion band Shakti, featuring Indian legends Shankar Mahadevan and Ustad Zakir Hussain, has won the Grammy Award for Best Global Music Album for their album ‘This Moment’. The band also includes guitarist John McLaughlin, violinist Ganesh Rajagopalan, and percussionist V Selvaganesh.

A historic win for Indian music

Shakti’s win is a historic moment for Indian music, as it is the first time that an Indian band has won a Grammy in this category. The band beat out other nominees such as Angelique Kidjo, Tinariwen, Anoushka Shankar, and Gaby Moreno. The award was announced at the 66th Grammy Awards ceremony held in Los Angeles on February 4, 2024.

Shankar Mahadevan, who accepted the award on behalf of the band, thanked God, his family, friends, and India for their support. He also dedicated the award to his wife Sangeeta. He expressed his gratitude to his bandmates, especially John McLaughlin and Zakir Hussain, who could not attend the ceremony. Zakir Hussain had won two other Grammys earlier in the day for his collaborations with Bela Fleck and Edgar Meyer.

A fusion of cultures and genres

Shakti, which means ‘energy’ or ‘power’ in Sanskrit, is a fusion band that blends Indian classical music with jazz, rock, and world music. The band was formed in 1975 by John McLaughlin and Zakir Hussain, along with violinist L. Shankar and percussionist T.H. Vinayakram. The band disbanded in 1977, but reunited in 1997 with new members, including Shankar Mahadevan and V Selvaganesh. The band suffered a tragic loss in 2014, when mandolin player U. Shrinivas passed away. In 2020, the band reformed again with Ganesh Rajagopalan replacing Shrinivas.

Shakti brings home Grammy

The band’s latest album, ‘This Moment’, was released in June 2023, and features eight new compositions and performances. The album showcases the band’s virtuosity, creativity, and harmony, as they explore various musical genres and traditions. The album includes songs such as ‘Shrini’s Dream’, a tribute to Shrinivas, ‘Bending the Rules’, a playful fusion of jazz and Carnatic music, ‘Karuna’, a soulful rendition of a raga, and ‘Las Palmas’, a lively piece inspired by Spanish flamenco.

A legacy of inspiration and innovation

Shakti’s Grammy win is not only a recognition of their musical excellence, but also a testament to their legacy of inspiration and innovation. The band has been a pioneer of world music, and has influenced generations of musicians, artists, and thinkers from different cultures and backgrounds. The band has also been a symbol of harmony and diversity, as they celebrate the richness and beauty of different musical traditions and expressions.

Shakti’s Grammy win is also a proud moment for India, as it showcases the country’s musical talent and heritage to the world. The band has been a ambassador of Indian music, and has introduced many listeners to the nuances and complexities of Indian classical music. The band has also been a source of inspiration and pride for many Indians, especially young musicians, who aspire to follow their footsteps and achieve global recognition.

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