Art & Entertainment

Falguni Shah – The Indian Singer-Songwriter Who Won A Grammy

Singer-songwriter Falguni Shah won her first Grammy today. Here’s all you need to know about the Mumbai-born artiste.

Falguni Shah

Falguni Shah known more by her stage name Falu was born in Mumbai, India. She took people all over the world by surprise by winning a Grammy earlier today. She received the Grammy Award for Best Children's Album in 2022 for her album A Colorful World.

She took to social media to share photos from the Grammys 2022. Sharing the pictures, she wrote, "I have no words to describe today's magic. What an honor to perform for the opening number of the GRAMMY Premier Ceremony, and then take home a statue on behalf of all the incredible people who worked on A Colorful World. We are humbled and thank the Recording Academy for this tremendous recognition. THANK YOU! (sic)."

For the unversed, she is a singer and songwriter residing in New York. She is someone whose work combines ancient traditional Indian melodies with current western sounds. She has worked and cooperated with a diverse range of musicians throughout her blossoming US-based career, including the likes of AR Rahman (‘Slumdog Millionaire’), Yo-Yo Ma (‘The Silk Road Project’), Philip Glass, Wyclef Jean, her master Ustad Sultan Khan, Blues Traveler, Ricky Martin, Bernie Worrell (‘Parliament Funkadelic’), and many more.

Shah was taught in the Jaipur gharana musical style in her early years in Mumbai, where she practised for up to 16 hours a day at times. She then continued her studies with Ustad Sultan Khan, who is a renowned sarangi player and a teacher for the vocal arts.

Shah migrated to the United States in 2000 and became the lead vocalist for the Boston-based Indo-American band Karyshma. In 2001, she met Asian Massive leader Karsh Kale and began touring the country's university, club, and festival circuits. Shah relocated to New York after completing a two-year Indian music visiting lectureship at Tufts University in Boston, where she created her own band of the same name. They began performing at music venues all across New York, swiftly gaining the attention of people from all over the city.

Shah was asked to perform as a solo artiste with Yo-Yo Ma's ‘Silk Road Project’ in 2004. She was appointed as one of Carnegie Hall's Musical Ambassadors to New York City in 2005. In May 2006, she made her Carnegie Hall debut as a soloist with ‘Zankel’. Later same year, she joined the ‘Born Into Brothels Ensemble’ (from the 2004 Academy Award-winning film), and in early 2007, she participated with Wyclef Jean on the score of Angelina Jolie's directorial debut, ‘A Place In Time’.

In May 2009, Shah performed a rendition of ‘Jai Ho’ alongside ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ film composer AR Rahman for an exclusive and star-studded crowd that included First Lady Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Barbara Walters, Stella McCartney, Liv Tyler, M.I.A., and others at the Time 100 Gala—Time magazine's yearly gala celebrating their list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Shah was invited back to the White House in November 2009 to perform alongside AR Rahman at President Obama's inaugural State Dinner in honour of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Slowly and steadily Shah has been making a name for herself. Today’s Grammy win was the second time that she had been nominated for the prestigious award. ‘Falu's Bazaar’, a twelve-song album in Hindi, English, and Gujarati, was released in 2018. Shah’s husband, singer-songwriter Gaurav Shah, and her mother, classical vocalist Kishori Dalal, appeared in it. Dalal has also performed Nishaad's Lullaby, a Gujarati ballad with no percussion. In 2019, the album was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Children's Music. However, it couldn’t win. In 2021, Shah and producer Kenya Autie published a follow-up children's album, ‘A Colorful World’, which is the album for which Shah won the Grammy today for Best Children's Album.