Sumptuous and surreal, the Kronos Quartet and Asha Bhosle's You've Stolen My Heart is not unlike the colorful, melodramatic Indian film musicals to which it pays tribute. Eight of its twelve tracks feature superstar Bollywood film playback singer Asha Bhosle, widely considered the world's most recorded vocalist. The songs were chosen from the repertoire of her husband, the late composer R.D. Burman, who revolutionized the sound of the movies produced at Mumbai's (formerly Bombay) fabled studios, a.k.a. Bollywood.
Most of us know Asha Bhosle from Cornershop's cheeky 1999 tribute "Brimful of Asha" and the Kronos Quartet as the daring (and daringly populist)outfit that makes headlines with new musical excursionsand reworkings of early music.
This celebration of Rahul Dev Burman's (1939-1994) groundbreaking soundtracks for Indian cinema is a unique project, in that the members of Kronos have devoted themselves fully to aping the master's sound.
While the cello might be a tad more elegant on lovely ditties like "Mehbooba, Mehbooba" and the flourishes a little less celestial throughout, this is a faithful, warm-hearted selection of 12 lovely songs. Septuagenarian Bhosle gasps and pants and croons almost as gorgeously as she did when recording with Burman, and her virtuosity matches up to the demands of the compositions as they switch mood, change rhythm and hop across genres: there's gypsy music, can-can, and even mariachi in this musical marsala.
Some say the Kronos Quartet is a bit too canny and commercial when conceiving projects, but this is more than a cynical bit of bandwagon-leaping, and will draw new audiences to the trance-inducing beat of Bollywood. --Chris Moss
Find more music at the BBC This link will take you off Amazon in a new window