GRAMMYs 2022 roundup: Best Global Music Performance

With the 2022 Grammys around the corner, the Global Music Performance category is a hotly-contested one. (Images via Instagram: @angeliquekidjo, @yoyoma, @femikuti)
With the 2022 Grammys around the corner, the Global Music Performance category is a hotly-contested one. (Images via Instagram: @angeliquekidjo, @yoyoma, @femikuti)

As part of the SKPop GRAMMYs roundup of 2022, we look at the category of Best Global Music Performance.

The Recording Academy overhauled and reinvented the nomination process for Grammys this year, providing greater power to its voters and adding categories for enhancing inclusion.

The "Best Global Music Performance" category was added to the existing "Best Global Music Album" category in the global section as an umbrella category for all the music worldwide, which does not find a place in other genre definitions.

While the net is very widely cast, and the choices remain mostly Anglo-centric and skewed towards America, it also means that whoever is nominated is an undeniably qualified choice.

A brief glance at the nominees for this year's GRAMMY Awards for Best Global Music Performance

1) Arooj Aftab – "Mohabbat"


The Brooklyn-based Pakistani crooner sings in a definitive style, which can best be defined as a mixture of minimalism, jazz and neo-Sufi. Her melancholic rendition of Mehdi Hasan's iconic ghazal Mohobbat is a slow, tremulous tune that provides the dejected lyrics with their desired impact.

The song also featured on Barack Obama's year-end list, an incomparable honour in itself. Arooj has also been nominated for the Best New Artist category.

2) Angélique Kidjo & Burna Boy – "Do Yourself"


Beninese-American Grammy-winning artist Angélique Kidjo released the album Mother Nature in 2021, containing songs about her home continent and the importance of preservation.

Do Yourself contains five languages - Yoruba, Fon, French, Pidgin and English. The song's upbeat Afropop tone masks more profound lyrics. Angélique has a voice like no other.

3) Femi Kuti – "Pà Pá Pà"


Femi is the eldest son of late Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. And his music resonates with the influence of the great musician. In 1986, Femi started his band, Positive Force, to establish himself as an artist independent of his father's legacy.

Like so many of his songs and those of his father, the lyrics speak of freedom, rebellion, and criticism of corrupt governments. But the looping groove and "Pa Pa Pa"s are an earworm.

4) Yo-Yo Ma & Angélique Kidjo – "Blewu"


Africa's premier diva features in this category again, for a song so poles apart from Do Yourself that it is shocking that a single artist performed both the tunes.

Blewu is a deeply moving concoction featuring Yo-Yo Ma's virtuoso cello and Angélique's operatic take on an African folk chant. The two distinct elements combine to create a piece so memorable that it echoes in your head far after it has stopped playing. This is the tune to beat for the Grammy.

5) Wizkid featuring Tems – "Essence"


Essence, a song by Nigerian singers Wizkid and Tems, is the first song from the country to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. The "sensual" music sees the duo express their desire for each other.

It is a catchy R&B tune seeped in afrobeats. It is the forerunner in the trend of midtempo Afropop tunes having a global moment, with Love Nwantiti by Nigerian singer Ckay being another prominent example. African music is on the cusp of going global, just like Korean and Latin music have.

Who do you think will take the Best Global Music Performance Grammy home?

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Edited by Yasho Amonkar