“Grammy Triumph: Zakir Hussain’s 3 Wins Resonate Harmony in Music World”

Zakir Hussain

At 72 years old, Tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain made history on Monday by becoming the first Indian to win three trophies in a single night at the Grammy Awards. Best Global Music Performance, Best Global Music Album, and Best Contemporary Instrumental Album were among the honors he received.

Hussain now boasts a total of five awards

Zakir Hussain now boasts a total of five awards, putting him on par with the late sitar maestro Ravi Shankar and master conductor Zubin Mehta, topping the list of Indians with the most Grammy wins. “I want to thank the Academy and all of these amazing musicians for coming together to create such beautiful and rich music,” Hussain remarked in an expression of gratitude. Accepting the trophy for Best Global Music Performance in Los Angeles, Hussain, clad in a sharp white kurta, said, “Thank you all.”

Also Read : Grammy Awards 2024: A Night of Music’s Biggest Moments


The win came for his contribution to “Pashto,” a song co-written and recorded with American banjo player Bela Fleck, American bassist Edgar Meyer, and Indian flautist Rakesh Chaurasia. The song honors the custom of Indian classical musicians performing with British royal bands in the early 1900s.

Hussain’s Speech

In his speech, Hussain noted, “One of our members (from the program) is missing, Mr. Bela Fleck.” “So, from him, and from Mr. Rakesh Chaurasia and Mr. Edgar Meyer, our heartfelt thanks. Present with us are our loved ones, and their absence would render us incomplete. He said, ‘Without love, without music, without harmony, we are nothing.'”

Zakir Hussain’s second Grammy win of the night was for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album, which he clinched with Fleck, Meyer, and Chaurasia for their expansive fusion-meets-jazz album, “A Meeting by the River.” He also shared the co-honors for Best Global Music Album in the moment, a recognition for the acclaimed return of leading world-fusion band Shakti by reviewers. The band beat out stars like Susana Baca, Bokanté, David and Nigerian pop sensation Burna Boy.

S. Mahadevan’s words on Award

After decades-long hiatus, Shakti reunited in 2020, featuring founding member Hussain alongside John McLaughlin, regular collaborator Shankar Mahadevan, and young bloods V. Selvaganesh and Ganesh Rajagopalan. In an impassioned speech, Mahadevan thanked “God, family, friends, and India.” He said, “India, we are proud of you.” “I wish to honor this accolade to my beloved wife, whose essence resonates in every melody of my music.”

This final award holds special significance for Hussain, not only because it signifies long-awaited recognition for Shakti but also because in 1992, Hussain was among the winners of the first-ever Grammy for Best World Music Album—then termed Best World Music Album—for “Planet Drum,” with grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart and six other collaborators.

Another win in this category came in 2009 for the Global Drum Project, a collaborative album with Hart, Nigerian Sikiru Adepoju, and Puerto Rican Giovanni Hidalgo. This latest win places Hussain in the rarefied club of artists who have won the award three times (Beninese artist Angélique Kidjo leads with five wins). It also means that Indian artists have won four times in this category, putting them on par with the United States and Benin, and just one trophy behind the leading holder Brazil.

One Indian contender that failed to secure the win this time around was the joint effort of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Falu, and Gaurav Shah’s song “Abundance in Milets.” All in all, though, it was another night of affirmation for India as a whole, following years of Grammy and Oscar victories for Indian music.

PM Modi on Zakir Hussain

Prime Minister congratulated Ustad Zakir Hussain and others for winning the Grammy for ‘Best Global Music’:

The Grammy Award for “Best Global Music” was won by Ustad Zakir Hussain, Rakesh Chaurasia, Shankar Mahadevan, Selvaganesh V, and Ganesh Rajagopalan, which was congratulated by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today.

Their fusion band, “Shakti,” has taken home the esteemed “This Moment” award.


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