Shankar Mahadevan: “This Grammy is very special”
"To go there and represent our culture and music, not in the way the West wants us to but in the way that we want to..."
When I rang up Shankar Mahadevan to congratulate him for the Grammy that he and his band Shakti won for the album This Moment, the affable and super-versatile musician replied, “I am currently travelling back to India. I am in transit in Doha. Will be boarding in a few minutes..." Shankar was still in a dreamlike state of mind, he said.
“Dreams do come true," he said of the Grammy. "The entire world’s attention was focused on that stage. And then to go there and represent our culture and music, not in the way the West wants us to but in the way that we want to… I can’t describe the feeling. The entire world was watching when we got the Grammy for India. It somehow feels like all the hard work has paid off.”
I asked him about that moment when his name was announced: “It was unbelievable! It will be that epiphanic career-defining moment in my life and career," he said.
"When the nominees were announced we were like, ‘Chalo yahan tak aa gaye, wohi kafi hai,’" he continued. "But then to hear we had won...! That is what every Indian musician dreams of.”
Mahadevan now intends to take Indian music even further out into the world: “I want to be associated with more collaborations, globally creating more awareness of our culture and music. There is tremendous music in our country’s heritage: in the Vedas, shlokas, the Upanishads, the Bhagvad Gita… There is a different variety of folk music in every state. There are traditional songs for every occasion, from a baby being born to dying…"
"These songs are often thousands of years old," he added. "These aspects of our music need to be explored and the aesthetics and depth of our music must be demonstrated to the world. That’s my mission.”