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Awards for World Music 2006
 
Asha Bhosle & the Kronos Quartet (credit: Luis Delgado)
ASHA BHOSLE & KRONOS QUARTET
(INDIA/USA)

A marriage made in heaven? That's one way to describe this extraordinary collaboration between the ubiquitous San Francisco-based string quartet and the Queen of Bollywood filmi (film music). That expression might also apply to the creative and romantic partnership between Asha Bhosle ­ the world's most celebrated 'playback' singer and the late Rahul Dev Burman, whose songs are showcased on Kronos Quartet's 2005 album 'You've Stolen My Heart'. It's their first to ever feature a lead singer, and who better for that role than Asha Bhosle herself?
 
Born Asha Dinanath Mangeshkar in 1933 into what was to be the Indian subcontinent's leading popular musical dynasty, this vocal chameleon became a queen behind the screen; the voice of dozens of Indian film stars (of Bollywood and beyond) in a career now into its seventh decade. Whether she or her sister Lata Mangeshkar is the world's most recorded artist in any genre (well over 10 and perhaps more than 20,000 songs, depending on who's counting) is the subject of controversy, but Asha is arguably more famous.
 
Likewise, Kronos Quartet are at the top of their game. Founded in 1973 by violinist David Harrington, they're probably the world's most eclectic string quartet, having performed works by, or collaborated with, a staggering array of artists. Kronos Quartet have ranged through modern classical, avant garde, jazz, rock and world music on over 40 albums not counting guest appearances and movie soundtracks. And they're renowned for the wealth of new work they have commissioned. The diversity of their tastes is mirrored by the work of R.D. Burman, who hovered up all manner of eastern and western influences for his zany, imaginative ouvre, which hit many highs between the '70s and '90s.
 
'I always feel better after I hear it', Harrington told a packed crowd at London's Barbican centre during their recent concert there with Asha. A luminous apparition in a sparkling sari, the ageless diva emanated subtle charisma, the miniature curtain of pearls dangling from her bracelet emphasising each expressive gesture, which in turn matched her exquisitely precise phrase. Between songs, it was her down-to-earth humour and incredible skills as a mimic that shone through in charming anecdotes. The funniest related her amazement that only four string players could do the job of 100, the number she's more used to working with.
 
Jon Lusk.
(with thanks to Ken Hunt)

Official website
National Public Radio feature
Asha Bhosle on Radio 4's Woman's Hour


YOUR COMMENTS

Shrinivas Bharadwaj
Asha any day. Just look at the range in her voice. Be it ghazals, romantic songs, melancholic songs, cabarets, or qawwalis, she has sung them all. I don't think any other singer is capable of achieving what she has achieved and that includes the great Lata Mangeshkar. Asha is truly incomparable and in a class of her own (even above Lata)

johanz Holland
As a non-hindi speaking collector of bollywood records from fifties, sixties, seventies and eighties I have listened to many songs by Asha and Lata. I understand that many people in India prefer Lata, also because she had better films, but also because of the 'tear in her voice'. For me it's defenitely Asha who gives me a tear in my heart. Her range and skills are outstanding, but the way she sing reaches me more on an emotional level. Guess we all have our own arguments for who is best. To me Asha rules, and I'll be on my way to Brussel next saturday, to travel about 500 km to see Asha perform with this quartet...

Radjesh from Holland
Lataji and Ashaji are the best singers of the world. There are no other singers who can sings as beautiful like the two great sisters. We all love them in Holland and waiting for Lataji to come. People will pay double for the tickets. Lataji is god miracle. Can you imagine: So many billion people on earth and only Lataji and Ashaji have the sweetest voices. Whatever people say to me both Lataji and Ashaji are great. They make me feel proud as an Indian. Because they are the one who teach the world how beautiful our music is and they represent India the best. Ashaji is a role model to me, let alone her fantastic voice- we all can learn from her - how to keep ourself young and fit on such an age. The nightingales are still going strong. I`m great full to be an Indian because with proud I can say that the nightingale on the higest branche are Indian. Lataji and Ashaji may god bless you both. I love you: Radjesh

nancy (Australia)
Very good song. Lioked by adults and young. Congratulations

Amit , Washington DC
Asha has sung lot more songs than Lata. True.. So what ?? Lata has her voice and she doesnt sound / can sing cabre songs as well as Asha.. So what ?? Every one knows that Asha could never become Lata ! Its kind of amusing to read "Asha is arguably more famous". Lata Manageshkar is recepient of every award in the India including Bharat Ratna , multiple citizenships etc etc. In fact when both the sistes are together,it is observerd that people /press tends to go after the Diva Lata ignoring Asha. She is also one of the most respected figure in India. Do you ever think Asha will receive Bharat Ratna ? Asha is no doubt a great singer but thats it !

Aashray, Pune,India.
ASHAji is certainly the worlds most recorded artist.What is remarkable about her is that she has proven herself even though she didnot get as many oppotunities as her sister Lata Mangeshkar.As long as popularity is concerned, Ashaji's concerts all over the world pull more crowds than any other Indian artist's, what more do you want...Apart from this... she is a wonderful human being and has always accepted challenges in her life and has overcome them gracefully, god bless her!!

Bhavna UK
Just listening to the sampler of Koi Aaya Aane Bhi De (above), it does sound more bollywood than string quartet - but it works. It is enjoyable to listen to. Love the R D Burman compositions sung by Asha (and occasionally when they dueted) Today in her 70's she still has the same appeal to the younger generation as she probably would have had 50 years ago - she's loving it and so are we.

simboo singh michigan
In reference to the person comments about comparing Asha and Lata from Muralai Bangalore, I would like to say that harping on the age-old comparisons between the two lengendary sisters, is really counterproductive, and to be honest, outfated and archaic. No one in their rights minds, int his day and age, would dare make those 'worn out" comparisons anymore. Let's face it! Both are equally famous but Asha Bhosle has managed to do things that Lata herself has admitted she cannotdo. Asha's versality is incomparable, and i mean incomparable. No one can match her here. In a number of areas Asha Bhosle is completely in a class by herself since she can do what no other Indian singer can do, including Lata Mangeshkar. People need to mature and accept the that the times have changed, and so have singers. In many ways Asha Bhosle has outdone her sister. She is and continues to be incomparable, and therefore, must be assessed on her own merit. She is the one and only ASHA!!!!!! Simboo

radjesh in holland
nightingale asha bhosle and sister melody queen lata mangeshkar are the best voices of in india in any field. we have not seen god. but we al have seen miracles. in our world we have beautifull places etc and of all living human lata mangehkar and asha bhosle have the sweetest voices. we all should cherish this gift of nature. besides a singer asha bosle is an great human and has a very lovely personality. we all adore her in holland . she has been here quite a few times and all her concerts were sold out within a week. she is a miracle. we love her. god bless her

Vinay, Washington DC
You have got your facts wrong. Asha is probably more recorded than Lata but not by much. And the number for Asha (all languages combined) is closer to 10000 than 20000 (or even 15000). However, as far as popularity or recognition is concerned, Lata is hands down numero uno, not just between the two sisters but among all Indian singers.

Debashish bhattacharya, kolkata
I think Ashaji is a symbol of Indian musical empathy and Rahul Dev Burman is considered as the pioneer composer who brought Indian contemporary music in the world music as seen today.I strongly believe this album is the album of the year.I wish all the uccess to this album and my dear Ashaji.

Nazir Patel Canada
Asha Bhosle and Lata the legend have cut down on their film playback singing for quite a few years now.Asha's song Lucky Lips from the film Lucky-No time for love is a delight to watch in the film and Lata was superb with her songs in Veer Zaara. Asha continues to come out with non-film albums now and then which are also hits. And has been busy with her world tour. She will be at the prestigious Carnegie Hall with Kronos in April 2006.

Charla Manohar, The Netherlands
Ashaji has stolen the hearts of Millions of People around the world in the last 5 decades. Her voice is unique in the sense that it didnt aged. Even today, she is playback singing for the younger generation of actresses that have entered the Indian filmindustry only recently. She is a true legend and I hope the best for her!

Murali,Bangalore,India
You say that singer Asha Bhosle is 'arguably more famous' than sister Lata Mangeshkar.Hahaha..I can say for sure that whoever wrote that absolutely has no idea what he/she is talking about.Please do your research properly first before making laughable statements like this. Lata Mangeshkar is the more famous of the two sisters,by any yardstick.Period. Stop making hilarious statements.

tarik boukhcheb
i like bollywood actor Salman khan of cource is the best actor and 2003 of tere naam aur 2004 mujhse chaadi karogi aur 2005 film no entry aur mpkk aur lucky and kyon ki Salman khan is rocks in box-office i think Star of the year thank you .

K Patel London
Both Asha and Lata (her sister) have hogged the music scene in India for over 30 years (not that I am suggesting that nepotism has a part to play in this). A population of 1 Billion can and has produced just as good, if not better. When will we get to hear alternatives to Bollywood?? remixes

Ajay Thakur, Bangor, UK
At least three generations have grown up with her voice. A rebelion in her era, successfuly going against wind most versatile playback singer. Mind it if you listen her without seeing her, you will fell for her. Singing so melodious being in 60's is really amazing.




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