Asha Bhosle comes downunder

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

Direct from performances in Mumbai, London & New York. To perform the music of her late husband, R.D. Burman. With Kronos quartet. You heard that right.

It is probably going to feature the music from their album .

You've Stolen My Heart: Songs from R.D. Burman's Bollywood

You’ve Stolen My Heart: Songs from R.D. Burman’s Bollywood

I love RD’s songs purely for their masala content. They are lively, zany and infectiously catchy. But the westernised versions- some may think of this as fusion but to me it is a khichdi and a mixing of oil and water. RD’s songs are so full of syncopated rhythms, plagiarised western tunes and and suggestive gasps of abandon and lewdness . Then you have the formal, minimalistic approach of the Kronos quartet even though they have performed a really w-i-d-e variety of music.

In an interview with NPR, David Harrington of Kronos compares RD with Stravinksy, Ellington, Gershwin and the Beatles, among others. Also included are live performances of a Bengali song and another called Rishte bante hain and even a very restrained and sedate version of the rollicking Mehbooba Mehboobalisten and judge for yourself. And even Dum maro dum has been castrated and neutered- short sample here.

I had thought I might go for a listen given my eclectic tastes in music. But I’ve decided to give it a miss. Perhaps this fusion messes with music that is so familiar to me that I can’t but see it as being degraded rather than improved.

Update: lyrics for Dum maro dum (‘Take a tote’) have been transcribed and posted by the industrious- and always entertaining- Manish, here. Have a close look at his version of the album cover too.

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4 Responses to “Asha Bhosle comes downunder”

  1. Desi Says:

    Loved it! And the other links in your post. Thanks!

  2. Nazir Patel Says:

    Asha Bhosle and Kronos should collaborate on a new album of Broadway Musical Hits with Asha singing the
    hits of Broadway in English. That should not be difficult as she has already sung in English remarkably well in a music video with Code Red.
    With Kronos providing their unique blend of music and Asha singing the Broadway Musical hits they may just end up with a grammy nomination.

  3. Desi Says:

    That’s a great idea!

    It is much more likely that Kronos’ traditional followers will be amenable to such an experiment than those of Asha’s will be to Kronos Quartet.

    I haven’t heard her Code Red song, though.

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