Shakti have been awarded the Grammy for Global Music Album, receiving the prize for This Moment, their first studio release in 46 years.
The jazz fusion band was formed in 1973 as a collaboration between Indian violinist L Shankar, percussionists Zakir Hussain and Vikku Vinayakram, as well as English guitarist John McLaughlin, famed for his collaborations with Miles Davis.
The group was celebrated for their idiosyncratic blend of jazz and Indian music, namely Hindustani and Carnatic traditions. The band released the albums A Handful of Beauty and Natural Elements in 1976 and 1977.
Shakti toured extensively in the mid-1970s, and only made a handful of appearances afterwards, changing their line-up. In 1997, McLaughlin and Hussain formed a similar band under the name Remember Shakti but it wasn’t until 2020 that Shakti regrouped.
Released in June, This Moment marks the band’s first studio album since 1977. The record features founding members McLaughlin and Hussain, as well as vocalist Shankar Mahadevan, violinist Ganesh Rajagopalan and percussionist Selvaganesh Vinayakram, son of Vikku.
Shakti’s Global Music Album award win came against stiff and eclectic competition. Afrobeats stars Burna Boy and Davido were in the running, as was the multicultural band Bokante and Peruvian singer-songwriter Susana Baca.
Mahadevan, Vinayakram and Rajagopalan picked up the award at the ceremony with noticeable excitement.
“Thank you boys and thank you god, family, friends and India. We are proud of you India. Last but not least, I'd like to dedicate this award to my wife whom every note of my music is dedicated to,” Mahadevan said, in his acceptance speech.
John McLaughlin, he noted, could not attend the ceremony. “We miss you, John-ji,” he said. “And Zakir Hussain, he just had another Grammy win.”
Hussain was one of the big winners at the 2024 Grammys, picking up three awards. The composer and tabla player won the Contemporary Instrumental Album category for As We Speak, work he created alongside Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer and Rakesh Chaurasia. Their song Pashto also won the Best Global Music Performance Grammy.
The wins are being celebrated online by notable Indian figures, including composer Ricky Kej who posted on X, formerly Twitter: “This is truly India's year at the Grammys!!! Wowww … Rakesh Chaurasia, Shankar Mahadevan, Ganesh Rajagopalan, Selvaganesh Vinayakram and Ustad Zakir Hussain … India is truly shining!! Thrilled!!!! Six Indians win in a single year.”