India shines at The Grammys; Shakti wins Global Music Album, Zakir Hussain wins three, Rakesh Chaurasia awarded two

(L to R): Grammy winners Shankar Mahadevan, Selvaganesh Vinayakram and Ganesh Rajagoplan from the band Shakti


Indian tabla maestro Zakir Hussain won three Grammy Awards on Sunday night in Los Angeles, capping a career that has spanned over six decades. Hussain, considered one of the greatest percussion artists of all time, won a trophy Best Global Music Album with other band members of Shakti, the fusion group he co-founded with guitarist John McLaughlin in 1973. The other band members who were cited for this award were Shankar Mahadevan (vocals), Ganesh Rajagopalan (violin), Selvaganesh Vinayakram (percussion), and John McLughlin (guitar).

Hussain won two other awards at the 66th Grammy Awards — for Best Global Music Performance for ‘Pashto’ and Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for ‘As We Speak’ — along with Bela Fleck (banjo), Rakesh Chaurasia (flute) and Edgar Meyer (bass).

In an acceptance speech, singer Shankar Mahadevan said, “Thank you, boys. Thank you God, family, friends and India. India, we are proud of you.” His shoutout to the nation evoked a loud cheer from the crowd. Mahadevan also thanked his wife for her constant support. “Last but not the least, I would like to dedicate this award to my wife whom every note of my music is dedicated to.”.

At the ceremony, Shakti competed with other artists like Susana Baca, Bokante, Burna Boy, and Davido. The album, ‘This Moment’ was released on June 30 last year.

In a post on X, Indian music composer and three-time Grammy winner Ricky Kej said that this is a great year for India at the Grammys. He wrote: “Ustad Zakir 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.

Kej added: “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. Ustad Zakhir Hussain won a second Grammy along with virtuoso flute player Rakesh Chaurasia. Brilliant!”

Shakti’s ‘This Moment’ features eight compositions and performances created by John McLaughlin (guitar, guitar synth), Zakir Hussain (tabla), Shankar Mahadevan (vocalist), V Selvaganesh (percussionist), and Ganesh Rajagopalan (violinist). The original group disbanded in 1978, and for two decades, each of the musicians pursued their own careers. In the late 90s, the band reformed with Shankar Mahadevan on vocals, U. Srinivas on mandolin and Selvaganesh Vinayakram replacing his father Vikku alongside McLaughlin and Hussain — bringing another creative dimension to an ensemble that was already considered one of the best groups in the emerging world music genre.

After the 2014 demise of Mandolin U Shrinivas, Shakti ceased to perform, but reconstituted itself in 2020, convening with violinist Ganesh Rajagopalan for two sold out concerts just two months before Covid was declared a pandemic — the first one in Kolkata on January 14, 2020 and the second one in Singapore on January 16, 2020.

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