Kronos Quartet And Asha Bhosle: You've Stolen My Heart: Songs From RD Burman's Bollywood Nonesuch PRO 301696
Anyone not familiar with the work of Kronos has a lot of catching up to do. Far from being just another chamber band scratching away at the usual repertoire they are by far and away the most innovative string outfit on the entire planet. They’ve explored areas of music as diverse as Jimi Hendrix and Thelonius Monk, all the major minimalists Philip Glass’s ‘Mishima’ film soundtrack and the superlative ‘Different Trains’ by Steve Reich, through settings of Allen Ginsberg to explorations of various ethnic sound landscapes and onto Wagner. Pretty wide-ranging stuff, eh?
The present offering is yet another unusual collaboration, this time with Bollywood singing star Asha Bhosle to provide a homage to her husband Rahul Dev Burman – composer of 300+ film scores. On a dozen tracks, with titles ranging from the intriguing ‘Take Another Toke’ to the obviously romantic ‘You’ve Stolen My Heart,’ our heroes capture the spirit of the sub-continent’s favourite medium, but widen its appeal even further with interpretations which take on board styles and traditions borrowed from here, there and everywhere. Now we have a spoonful of Glass-style piano arpeggios and a splash of mediaeval polyphony. Add a pinch of Middle Eastern percussion and a soupcon of heavy rock guitar and the resulting mishmash could be a cullinary disaster, but no - it’s a wonderful curry to be proud of and savoured for many exotic evenings to come.
This is a collection of brilliantly original fusions which deserve to be one of those crossover hit albums if picked up and played by radio stations such as Classic FM, Jazz FM, Radios 2 & 3. In fact the appeal is universal. In fact, I think the record company and artists could help themselves to a great deal of success and exposure if they turn out to have the nous to release a couple of tracks as a single.