• Saturday, April 20, 2024
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Grammy Awards: Why Davido, Burna Boy may not win the Global Performance category

Davido, Burna Boy’s Grammy snub raise cultural misrepresentation dust

When Davido, a Nigerian superstar music artist, was nominated for in 3 categories for the 66th Grammy Awards back in November, fans and supporters of his music were elated as has finally achieved the feat which his fellow contemporaries such as Wizkid and Burna Boy have achieved. However, the category of the Global Music Performance has eluded previous Nigerian singers who have been nominated for the category.

Speaking ahead of the 66th Grammy Awards ceremony in a recent interview with France 24, Davido said he deserves to have won 20 Grammys by now. He said, “We worked hard on this album (‘Timeless’) . I was just really patient. So, if you ask me if I deserve Grammys in the past, I already need 20 Grammys. But, like I said, God’s timing is the best. We will see what happens.”

The Grammy Award for Best Global Music Performance is an honor reserved for international performers exhibiting “non-European, indigenous traditions”, was first presented at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards, held on January 31, 2022.

In that year several influential musical works like Angélique Kidjo & Burna Boy’s ‘Do Yourself’, Femi Kuti’s ‘Pà Pá Pà’, Yo-Yo Ma & Angélique Kidjo’s ‘Blewu’ and Wizkid’s global sensation ‘Essence’ which he sang alongside Tems who added her melodic tone to the now famous chorus which was sung around the world and even made it to Barack Obama’s summer playlist of the previous year.

However, Arooj Aftab’s ‘Mohabbat’ picked up the inaugural award. This came with a lot of backlash from Nigerian fans who wanted to see the now globally recognised artist win his first Grammy for his work.

Wouter Kellerman, Zakes Bantwini, and Nomcebo Zikode won an award for ‘Bayethe’ the following year. They beat competitors like Burna Boy’s ‘Last Last,’ which reached #44 on the Billboard Hot 100, a milestone none of the other songs in the category achieved.

This year, Davido and Burna Boy are nominated in the category for their works ‘Feel’, and ‘Alone’ respectively, becoming the first time two Nigerians are nominated in the category as well as the Global Music Album category, where their respective albums ‘Timeless’ and ‘I Told Them’ were nominated.

They share the category with Arooj Aftab, a former winner in the category who is nominated for a record for the third time for her song ‘Shadow Forces,’ where she features Vijay Iyer and Shahzad Ismaily. The 15-minute-long single from her album ‘Eyes of the Endless’ tells of an existential heartbreak as she sings over pensive minor-key piano.

Aftab’s third straight year as a Grammy nominee in the category proves that she has cracked the code to getting Grammy nods and possible wins.

Silvana Estrada’s Milagro Y Desastre is another contender for the award. With similar sounds to Aftab’s record but sung in her native Spanish language the song starts off as a love song about standing on the edge of another new connection. Towards the end, Estrada realised that love is the main lens for how she views the world.

‘Abundance In Millets’ by Falu & Gaurav Shah is a strong contender for the award. The single which features Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi aligns seamlessly with the global spotlight on millet.

This mix of music, policy, and agricultural innovation helps to amplify the pressing global challenges, and emphasises the vital role that millets can play in building a sustainable and abundant future.

Pashto by Béla Fleck, Edgar Meyer and Zakir brings together the American, European, and Indian sounds of banjo, tabla, double bass, and wooden flute. Abetted by the great bamboo flutist Rakesh Chaurasia, ‘Pashto’ is a fitting homage to the practice of Hindustani musicians playing with British Isles military musicians in the 19th century.

‘Todo Colores’ is the final song in the category by Ibrahim Maalouf Featuring Cimafunk & Tank And The Bangas. ‘Todos Colores’ or ‘All Colors’ in English, transcends borders through Maalouf’s four-valve trumpeting with Cuban Cimafunk’s rap in Spanish.

The Global Music Performance category will surely get its third winner by the end of Sunday night but judging by the two previous wins, voters may not only be looking for just how successful the songs are commercially but also which one has the better story, and the method of deliverability.