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Falguni Shah on her Grammy-nominated children’s album Falu’s Bazaar
Falguni Shah who goes by the stage name Falu Shah, has become the only Indian woman to be nominated for the Grammys this year. The singer who came out with an album especially for children called ‘Falu’s Bazaar,’ has landed herself a coveted nomination in the Children’s Music category.
Ask her about her Grammy nomination and an elated Shah says, “I feel blessed, grateful, honoured, humbled and super lucky to have been nominated in the Children’s Music Category at the Grammys. The artiste reveals that the next project will draw from beautiful Urdu poetry (Ghalib and other ghazal/Sufi masters) and present music in a way that speaks to a 21st century global audience. .I love the complexity and depth of this poetry and the comparisons with Shakespearean and other Western poetic styles is obvious,” she concludes.
Mumbai-born Falguni has had a childhood steeped in music. After learning the Benaras style of Thumri, Falguni then studied music under maestros such as Ustad Sultan Khan and the iconic Kishori Amonkar of the Jaipur Gharana. Vast training in most ancient musical traditions has meant a lifetime of valuable lessons learnt. She says, “Besides giving me music lessons, they also gave me priceless life lessons that affected my music deeply. They taught me that music and life are connected, and I use these lessons in my daily life. My first guru, Kaumudi Munshi, always told me to focus on the positive things happening in our world instead of the negative. I have adapted that and made it a personal mantra for myself both in music and life. My second teacher Uday Mazumdar told me, ‘If you ever need any answers in life, always look towards music as it will always give you the answers to your questions and doubts’. Ustad Sultan Khan said to me once that people who learn to have patience in their lives will always achieve their goals. Kishori Amonkar said one of the most beautiful things: ‘Why are you looking for your musical notes outside? They are inside deep in your heart’.”
With generations of musical training by her side, Falguni, in 2000, relocated to the United States. She may have spent some time finding her feet in a new country, but that didn’t stop her from collaborating with some of the biggest names in the world of music. Musicians such as Wyclef Jean, Philip Glass, Ricky Martin, Blues Traveler, Yo-Yo Ma and AR Rahman have all collaborated with Falguni. She says humbly, “Every time I was with them, I learned something new and kept it in my heart. They continue to inspire me every day and have sown seeds of creativity and innovation that will forever be present in everything I do.”
She said When my little son Nishaad turned 4 years old and started school, he came home with questions like Ma – why is our food yellow? Why do we speak a different language at home versus school? Why do we count our numbers differently?”
she added, “I thought the best way to answer his questions was through music. So I decided to make this album to give him and all children who come from different and diverse backgrounds a sense of identity and reassure them – what they have inherited is deep-rooted culture and heritage and they have the advantage to draw from both, their cultures and also the American way of life.