News Trust of India : The 66th Annual Grammy Awards included the lively tunes of Indian music when Shakti, the renowned fusion band, won the esteemed Best Global Music Album award for their most recent release, “This Moment.” This remarkable victory not only represented their initial Grammy award after 45 years but also a noteworthy acknowledgment of India’s abundant musical legacy on the international platform. Continuing the festive atmosphere of the evening, talented flautist Rakesh Chaurasia was awarded his second Grammy, further establishing his expertise in his field.
Shakti’s Successful Comeback: A Fusion Redefined
Shakti’s win demonstrates the lasting strength of their music, which skillfully combines Indian classical traditions with elements of jazz, rock, and Western classical. The group, initially established in 1974 through the creative partnership of Shankar Mahadevan, John McLaughlin, Zakir Hussain, T.H. “Vikku” Vinayakram, and Ganesh Rajagopalan, established a distinct presence in the international music industry. Their debut album in 1975 received considerable praise, establishing them as innovators of Indo-fusion music.
However, after a period of dormancy following Vinayakram’s passing in 1997, the band’s future seemed dubious. However, the musical passion was revived in 2002 when McLaughlin revived the essence of Shakti with “Remember Shakti,” which included V. Selvaganesh (son of Vinayakram), mandolin virtuoso U. Srinivas, and Mahadevan. This version continues to captivate viewers, preserving the tradition of Shakti.
Finally, in 2020, the original core members of Shakti — Mahadevan, McLaughlin, and Hussain – reunited, accompanied by Rajagopalan’s son Ganesh. This reunion culminated in the mesmerizing “This Moment,” an album that flawlessly portrays the band’s unique fusion sound. The music pulsates with energy, merging dense Carnatic ragas with powerful jazz improvisations, producing a musical tapestry that transcends boundaries and genres.
Shakti’s Grammy triumph is not only a solo achievement; it reflects the growing admiration for Indian music on the world arena. It paves the way for more study and experimentation within the field of Indo-fusion, inspiring future generations of musicians to bridge cultures via their art.
Rakesh Chaurasia: A Maestro’s Continued Reign
Flautist Rakesh Chaurasia, famous for his dexterity and passionate performances of Indian classical music, added another Grammy to his collection this year. His triumph in the Best Instrumental Global Music Performance category for his album “Raga Bhairavi” is his second Grammy after his win in 1997 for “Morning Raga/Ramkali.”
Chaurasia’s flute weaves magic, deftly negotiating the nuances of traditional ragas while mesmerizing audiences with his sophisticated improvisations. His music transcends geographical boundaries, reaching with audiences globally by its sheer emotional depth and technical excellence.
Chaurasia’s Grammy award serves as a well-deserved recognition of his lifelong dedication to his art. He continues to inspire not just young flautists but also music fans across the globe, exhibiting the beauty and expressiveness of Indian classical music.
A Night of Celebration for Indian Music
The 2024 Grammy Awards surely marked a major era for Indian music. Shakti’s win in the Best Global Music Album category and Chaurasia’s second Grammy winner stand as compelling testaments to the country’s rich musical legacy and its expanding influence on the global scene. These achievements not only provide enormous pride to India but also open the path for further investigation and appreciation of Indian music abroad.
As we celebrate these achievements, let us also recall the famous Pandit Ravi Shankar, the first Indian musician to win a Grammy in 1968, and Zubin Mehta, the acclaimed conductor who has brought home five Grammy Awards. Their legacies continue to inspire generations of musicians and set the way for future success on the world stage.
The 2024 Grammy Awards have written a remarkable chapter in the history of Indian music, commemorating a night of celebration, appreciation, and inspiration. As the melodies of Shakti and Chaurasia’s music continue to reverberate, we may be certain that Indian music will continue to attract audiences worldwide, enriching the global soundscape with its distinct beauty and vibrancy.