Indian leader hails ‘phenomenal success’ at Grammys
Indian musicians scooped three awards at the 66th Grammy Awards ceremony held in Los Angeles, California, on Sunday, prompting praises from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who suggested the country’s achievements will inspire a new generation of artists to “dream big.”
Indian fusion band Shakti won a Grammy for ‘Best Global Music Album’ for their latest recording ‘This Moment.’ Renowned Indian tabla drummer Zakir Hussain, who also plays with Shakti, walked away with three trophies during the night, while acclaimed Indian percussionist/flautist Rakesh Chaurasia, received two awards. Singer Shankar Mahadevan, kanjira drummer V Selvaganesh, and violinist Ganesh Rajagopalan were the other Indian winners at the star-studded ceremony.
Talking to X (formerly Twitter), Modi asserted that the Indian musicians’ “exceptional talent and dedication” had won hearts worldwide. “These achievements are a testament to the hard work you keep putting in. It will also inspire the new generation of artists to dream big and excel in music,” noted Modi.
Interestingly, Modi himself was nominated at this year’s ceremony. ‘Abundance in Millets,’ a song nominated in the Best Global Music Performance category by Indian-American duo Falguni Shah and Gaurav Shah, featured the leader’s voice. Eventually, the award went to ‘Pashto,’ a track featuring Hussain and Chaurasia, among others.
Three-time Grammy winner Ricky Kej, Indian music composer based in Bengaluru, who won his third Grammy last year for the album ‘Divine Tides,’ called 2024 the year of India at the Grammys.
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
Indian music, which has a rich history and philosophical background, has traditionally performed well at the American awards ceremony. Ravi Shankar, an expert of the stringed Indian instrument ‘sitar’ won five awards since 1967 and is so far the most ‘decorated’ Indian. At the 55th Annual Grammy Awards in 2013, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Composer AR Rahman has bagged two awards at the 81st Academy Awards for his music in the 2008 movie ‘Slumdog Millionaire.’
While Indian classical music has always been acclaimed, the pop genre is also starting to make a dent in the West. In 2023, ‘Naatu Naatu’ from the South Indian action film ‘RRR’ won Best Original Song at the Oscars, marking a historic first for the country. A rendition of the song was also performed at the show held at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, Los Angeles.
In another first for India last year, filmmaker Kartiki Gonsalves became the first Indian film director to win an Oscar, for her debut documentary ‘The Elephant Whisperers.’