|Mangeshkar, Lata / Rough Guide To...|
|Add Date:||2004-03-08|| ||Pull Date:||2004-05-10|| ||Charts:||Reggae/World|
|Week Ending:||9 May||25 Apr||18 Apr||11 Apr||4 Apr||28 Mar||14 Mar|
Adored by millions in South Asia; revered by classical and popular musicians alike; and perhaps the only constant star in the field of Indian music for the last 60 years; Lata Mangeshkar is a singer without parallel in the Indian subcontinent. In 1959, Time magazine dubbed her as “the voice of Asia”. Three generations and 20,000 songs later, an 80-year old Lata has still found no equal.|
Given her unique status in the subcontinent, one may wonder why Lata Mangeshkar is a totally unknown name in the US. I can think of two reasons. First, unlike musicians like Ravi Shankar and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan who collaborated with their Western counterparts, Lata has rarely worked outside the subcontinent, although she has sung in almost all the vernaculars of South Asia. Second, her voice, sweet and well-modulated as it may sound to the conditioned Indian ear, inevitably comes across as shrill and high-pitched to an unfamiliar western listener. I had hoped that this Rough Guide would help remedy the situation to some extent. Unfortunately, I find the selection quite perplexing here: some of the numbers are obscure and mediocre even by Bollywood standards, and Lata’s devotional and classical work, where she really shines, is nearly omitted. As always, read liner notes! Try #s 6, 11, 13, 16.
Track 1, Inhi logon ne: Tabla + ghungroo (dancing bells)+ saranagi take center stage. Evocative dance number composed in a traditional “courtesan” style.
Track 2, Allah tero naam: Lata leads chorus in this meditative, uncluttered hymn.
Track 3, Ayega aanewaala: Haunting number from a spooky mystery thriller of the 1950s. Tempo picks up about 2 mins into the track.
Track 4, Sare shahar mein: Effervescent duet with sister Asha Bhonsle. Goofy with slight arabic influence.
Track 5, Satyam shivam: Multilayered orchestra + chorus + lata. Devotional number from a film of the same name.
**Track 6, aye-dile-nadan: Terrific workout between Santur and Lata’s vocals. Persian influence.
Track 7, aa jane jaan: Very Cheesy instrumentation, uninspired vocals. A bollywood “cabaret”.
Track 8, pyar kiya : From a classic period film based on the Mughal empire. Anthem of rebellious love in the subcontinent for 50 years. Tabla + spirited, fiery vocals.
Track 9, yeh dil diwana: waltzy duet.
Track 10, kuch na kaho: sweet, contemplative ballad.
**Track 11, kuchh dil ne kaha : Slow, dreamy melody.
Track 12, Nainon mein badra: Slightly more classical track, high-pitch vocals, Sitar.
**Track 13, yara seeli seeli: Folk tune from the deserts, “the night burns away like a candle wick”. An assortment of stringed and percussive instruments.
Track 14, chandni raaten: slow duet.
Track 15, kaise rahun chup: Melodramatic display of bollywood histrionics, Filmed on actress drinking herself silly at a party. Hic hic hic.
Track 16, soja rajkumari: Cover version of 1940s song. Lullaby (“sleep little princess”) with tabla.