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Norah's night at the Grammys

Bijoy Venugopal | February 24, 2003 11:54 IST

"In a time when this world is really weird, I feel really lucky and blessed," Norah Jones gushed breathlessly after sweeping eight awards at the 45th Annual Grammy Awards presented by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Inc on February 23, 2003, at the Madison Square Gardens, New York.

Jones, 24, won in all her nominated categories. Her debut album Come Away With Me (Blue Note Records) won Album Of The Year as well as two technical awards for its producer and sound engineers.

"She's not good, she's phenomenal," said singer Tony Bennett of Norah Jones before she arrived onstage to perform Don't Know Why. Jones, daughter of sitar maestro Ravi Shankar from a nine-year relationship with American producer-dancer Sue Jones, first met her father when she was eight.

Jones won Best New Artist, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for Don't Know Why and Best Pop Vocal Album for Come Away With Me. Don't Know Why also won Record Of The Year and Song of the Year for songwriter Jesse Harris. Come Away With Me was adjudged Album Of The Year. Producer Arif Mardhin won Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical while sound engineers S Husky H�skulds and Jay Newland came away with Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.

"I can't believe it," Jones whispered, sharing stage with soul diva Aretha Franklin and guitar woman Bonnie Raitt. Like most first-timers, Jones appeared to be holding back a deluge of anxious tears but remained as composed as her child-woman image permitted her. She thanked her mother, songwriter Harris, her piano teacher and "my wonderful boyfriend" Lee Alexander. There were no dedications voiced for the Indian half of her family.

Jones' half-sister sitarist Anoushka Shankar, 21, nominated in the category of Best World Music Album for Anoushka Shankar: Live At Carnegie Hall (Angel Records) lost out to Panamanian Rub�n Blades, who walked away with the award for Mundo (Columbia Records Group/Sony Discos). Shankar had told rediff.com early this month that she was expecting Jones to win 'at least a couple' of awards.

Jones edged out favourites Bruce Springsteen and teen rocker Avril Lavigne in the most contentious categories. Post-9/11 sentiment took a backseat as 'The Boss' and his E-Street band could only glean three awards -- Best Male Rock Vocal Performance, Best Rock Song and Best Rock Album.

Earlier in the day, the audience had to be up on its feet almost as soon as it walked in for folk rock's legendary crooning duo Paul Simon and Arthur Garfunkel, who broke their decade-long silence as they rekindled a warm sixties glow with their memorable anthem Sounds of Silence. They won lifetime achievement awards.

Decadent grunge managed to officially crawl into rock's proprietary hole of fame. Foo Fighters, led by ex-Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, stormed away with the Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance for All My Life. British hard rock band Coldplay won Best Alternative Music Album for A Rush Of Blood To The Head.

The music fraternity's most-adored sociopath, the white rapper Marshall Mathers, better known as Eminem, thanked his black forebears -- including rap legends LL Cool J and Run DMC -- in a daisy chain of name-dropping. Belying expectations, Eminem won only two awards -- Best Rap Album for The Eminem Show and Best Short Form Music Video for Without Me.

The Grammys, which returned to the Big Apple after five years, presented 18 live performances across diverse musical genres. But in the end, it was Norah's night all the way.

The Grammy Awards

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