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Pakistani American Arooj Aftab and Indian American Anoushka Shankar Perform Their Grammy Nominated Song at 65th Award Ceremony

Pakistani American Arooj Aftab and Indian American Anoushka Shankar Perform Their Grammy Nominated Song at 65th Award Ceremony

  • Also making history is North Carolina-born, Bangalore-based music composer Ricky Kej who won his third award.

Brooklyn, New York-based musician Arooj Aftab performed her Grammy-nominated song “Usher Na” at the premier ceremony before the main awards last night, becoming the first Pakistani to perform at the prestigious event. She was joined by Anoushka Shankar, the daughter of legendary sitarist Ravi Shankar. The two were nominated in the Best Global Music Performance category for the song from a deluxe edition of Aftab’s third album “Vulture Prince. They lost to “Bayethe,” by Wouter Kellerman, Zakes Bantwini and Nomcebo Zikode.

Last year, Aftab took home the inaugural award for Best Global Music Performance with “Mohabbat.” The 37-year-old who became the first Pakistani woman to win a Grammy was also nominated in the Best New Artist category but lost to singer-songwriter and actress Olivia Rodrigo. 

Shankar has been nominated for nine Grammy Awards in total. This year, she received a second nomination in the Best Global Music Album category for “Between Us… (Live),” along with Metropole Orkest & Jules Buckley, featuring Manu Delago.

Her half-sister Norah Jones, who was nominated in the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album category for her first full live album “Dream of Christmas (Extended),” lost to Michael Bublé’s “Higher.”

Also making history at the 65th Grammy Awards was music composer Ricky Kej who won his third Grammy Award in the Best Immersive Audio Album category for his globally acclaimed album, “Divine Tides” with Rock-legend Stewart Copeland. Last year, the North Carolina-born, Bangalore-based Kej won his second Grammy in the Best New Age Album category for the same album, which features artists from all over the world. He won his first Grammy in 2015 for his album “Winds of Samsara” in the Best New Age Album category.

“Divine Tides” is a tribute to Vasudeva Kutumbakam – The World is One Family. The album contains nine songs and eight music videos from around the world from the exquisite beauty of the Indian Himalayas to the Icy forests of Spain. “Soundscapes and melodies meet pulsating rhythms amidst lush ambient textures, which elevate the senses into a realm of spiritual solitude, where the soul is free — one with itself, one with time, one with our planet,” according to its website. 

On the red carpet, Annette Philip, founder of Berklee Indian Ensemble made heads turn in a Kanjivaram sari. She completed her look with a red Bindi and golden choker set. On the red carpet when she was asked about her outfit, she said she was happy to wear her country and culture. “This is a traditional Kanjivaram saree from India. So, it is created by weavers in our country. I am happy to wear my country and my culture.”  

Philip was representing the Berklee Indian Ensemble, which was also nominated in the Best Global Music Album category for their debut album “Shuruaat.” Released on July 15, it features 98 musicians from all over the world including Grammy-winning tabla maestro Zakir Hussain, renowned singers Shankar Mahadevan, Vijay Prakash, and Shreya Ghoshal, among others, according to a Berklee press release. “The 10 tracks in the album include original student compositions influenced by everything from jazz and progressive rock to Sufi and Middle Eastern music,” the press release said. “It is fitting that ‘Shuruaat,’ which means ‘beginning’ in Hindi, displays our journey so far, and the one we’re about to begin,” the press release quoted Philip as saying. 

Meanwhile, rapper Cardi B made a statement in Indian designer Gaurav Gupta’s gown. The hooded electric blue sculptural gown had the mystique of a wind-blown chiffon sari worn covering the head. It was paired it with legging boots in the same electrifying shade. 

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