South Asian music has increased its presence in the global consciousness, with several big wins at the 2024 Grammy Awards only cementing this.
Zakir Hussain had plenty of reason to celebrate, making history by becoming the first Indian artist to win three Grammy awards in one night.
His fusion band, Shakti, which is co-led by Shankar Mahadevan and John McLaughlin, won the Grammy Award for Best Global Music Album for their latest album called This Moment. Released in June 2023, the album features eight songs created by Zakir Hussain (tabla), Shankar Mahadevan (vocalist), John McLaughlin (guitar synth), V. Selvaganesh (percussionist), and Ganesh Rajagopalan (violinist).
Mahadevan and Rajagopalan accepted the award at the star-studded ceremony held at LA's Crypto.com Arena, with Mahadevan saying on stage: "Thank you boys. Thank you God, family, friends, and India. India, we are proud of you." He also dedicated the award to his wife, saying she's the person whom "every note of my music is dedicated to".
Hussain also won the Best Global Music Performance award for his contribution to Pashto alongside Bela Fleck and Edgar Meyer and featuring Rakesh Chaurasia. Plus, As We Speak, which is the album that Pashto is from, also nabbed the Contemporary Instrumental Album award – which marked another win for flute player Chaurasia.
Indian musical composer and three-time Grammy award winner Ricky Kej attended the Grammys and claimed that "This is a great year for India at the Grammys".
"Ustad Zakhir Hussain, the living legend creates history by winning 3 Grammys in one night!!! Rakesh Chaurasia wins 2!! This is a great year for India at the Grammys.. and I am blessed to witness it," he wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter).
South Asian music has particularly rose to prominence in the western sphere in the past few years. Telugu film, RRR's smash hit Naatu Naatu won Best Original Song at the 2023 Golden Globes and Oscars last year, while US music festival Coachella recently launched a documentary called Ascending, which explores the rise of South Asian musicians and how they're redefining the festival landscape.