Monday, August 08, 2005

kronos and RD: again

The wonderfully dark, moody, harsh, aggressive and aurally violent Black Angels was my introduction to the Kronos Quartet. But it was their 2000 release Caravan that cemented my attention to their work.

Two reasons.

One, being a trivia-monger, I was fascinated to find out the trail of history accompanying Misirlou, which underscored the inventive madness of QT's Pulp Fiction. The Dick Dale track (and there's another trail I followed, surf music) was in fact a version of a traditional Greek song that had been published in sheet music form by Nicholas Roubanis.

The second, and more important reason, was that they chose to cover an R D Burman track: aaj kii raat from Caravan (yes, the nominal coincidence). The arrangement was interesting, and there was a dollop in the form of Ustad Zakir Hussain performing the tabalaa on the track.
kronos with asha

And now, on August 23, 2005, the Quartet's latest brush with R D Burman will hit the stands. This time it's a full-album effort titled You've Stolen My Heart: Songs from R D Burman's Bollywood and has Asha Bhosle guesting on 8 of the 12 tracks. Ustad Zakir Hussain returns on the tabalaa. I've been following the news of this release for a while now, and even managed to check out the samples. Despite the grouse about Asha singing at this age (even though she is probably the most ideal candidate for a collaboration like this), they sound interesting (especially dam maaro dam). You can get a few chuckles out of some of the track titles too.

May I also point you to Peter Culshaw's favourable take on the album (like I was going to show you bad reviews!). There's a nice note of comparison between A R Rahman (widely regarded as RDB's successor -- I'm not so sure, but that's my mileage) and RDB: Rahman is really the Indian Lloyd Webber; with a melodic talent, certainly, but lacking Burman's wit and panache. Culshaw hits a minor gaffe though when he notes Bhosle was even responsible for introducing rock'n'roll [sic] to India, with her hit 'Ek Do Teen'. Um, if you're talking about the Tezaab song, that was Alka Yagnik. If you're talking about the Awara song, that was Shamshad Begum. As for "introducing" rock n' roll to India, fuggedaboutit.

Sigh! Pancham if only you were alive to collaborate in person instead of opera.

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