Arts & Entertainment

Jon Batiste, Silk Sonic triumph in Grammys that featured Zelenskyy

By Xavier Romualdo

Las Vegas, US, Apr 4 (EFE).- Jon Batiste, with five awards including album of the year, and the duo Silk Sonic, winner of song and record of the year, were the big winners of the 64th edition of the Grammy Awards in Las Vegas on Sunday.

Thus, funk and soul joined pop in the most outstanding categories of a ceremony that, in its central moment, featured a pre-recorded speech by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“The war. What is more opposite of music? The silence of ruined cities and killed people. Our children draw swooping rockets, not shooting stars,” said the president to the silence of those in the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

It was the only moment of silence at a gala that celebrated the return of live music in style after more than two years of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Zelenskyy listed Ukrainian cities the Russian war is destroying and said: “But I have a dream of them living. And free. Free like you on the Grammy stage.”

Immediately afterwards there were two direct appeals to freedom: John Legend premiered the ballad “Free” on the piano and Batiste shone with a colorful performance of his single “Freedom.”

It was a big night for Batiste, who entered with 11 nominations, second only to Michael Jackson in 1984 and Babyface in 1997. He ultimately won five awards.

“I believe this to my core, there is no best musician, best artist, best dancer, best actor … the creative arts are subjective and they reach people at a point in their lives when they need it most,” said the composer when collecting the coveted award for album of the year for “We Are.”

The other two big prizes, for record of the year and song of the year, went to “Leave The Door Open,” the debut single of duo Silk Sonic, formed by Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak.

The song, which premiered at last year’s Grammys, was also crowned best R&B song and best R&B performance.

Olivia Rodrigo also had a big night, winning best new artist, best pop vocal album and best pop solo performance.

“This is my biggest dream come true,” said the singer who, at 19, has experienced a rapid rise to stardom.

Billie Eilish, who made history two years ago by winning all four main prizes at the age of 18, failed to win a gong this year, but delivered one of the night’s most talked-about performances with “Happier Than Ever,” which she performed wearing a T-shirt bearing the face of Taylor Hawkins, the Foo Fighters drummer who died last week.

Before Hawkins’ death, the band was scheduled to perform at the ceremony, in which they won best rock performance for “Making a Fire,” best rock song for “Waiting on a War” and best rock album for “Medicine at Midnight.”

“This was the moment in the show when I was supposed to be introducing the Foo Fighters,” gala host Trevor Noah said as he announced a tribute to Hawkins, followed by another to coronavirus victims. EFE


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