ASHA BHOSLE CELEBRATES HER 75TH YEAR BY LOOKING TO THE FUTURE;
INDIA’S SINGING LEGEND BYPASSES NOSTALGIA FOR NEW CD
“75 YEARS OF ASHA”;
“MOST RECORDED VOICE IN HISTORY” TO TOUR U.S. IN “UNPLUGGED” STYLE CONCERTS FEATURING AMIT KUMAR
She’s the most recorded voice on earth, with over 13,000 titles to her credit. She’s a legend in India’s “Bollywood” film industry, with a six-decade-long career as a playback singer in over 900 films. She’s an international star whose crossover success includes recordings with Western artists ranging from English pop singer Boy George to the American classical ensemble the Kronos Quartet. And she’s now at the helm of a growing family of high-end Indian restaurants from Dubai to Birmingham that need only her first name as their calling card. She is Asha Bhosle, and she is celebrating her 75th birthday with a brand new recording and a series of U.S. concerts that include Carnegie Hall and L.A.’s Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Looking pointedly forward as she celebrates her 75th birthday, Asha Bhosle (AH-shah BO-slay) will again use the past only as a springboard to the future with the release of “75 Years of Asha,” set to be released on April 15th on Times Square Records. The recording features new compositions by acclaimed composer Nitin Shankar as well as songs that have never been released in the U.S. market. The collection features Asha performing songs in the various languages of India – Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali – underscoring that she is one of the few artists who is loved and respected by every community in India. An all-new recording will follow this Fall. Both CD releases will add more new material to a musical resume unlike any other in India or, for that matter, the world.
Along with the release, Asha will tour North America from April 4 through April 27 with concerts in Toronto, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Miami, Atlantic City, Phoenix and Los Angeles. Bhosle will be backed by a live 8-piece Bollywood band in a series of intimate, “unplugged”-style concerts that will bypass her countless past hits in favor of the new and the unusual: brand new compositions, older songs that she has never performed live, and unique interpretations of classic songs from Indian film history. Joining her will be singer Amit Kumar, son of the late Indian singing legend Kishore Kumar, with whom Asha recorded countless duets. Amit Kumar is a recording star in his own right, as well as the host of the wildly popular Sony TV series “K for Kumar,” a talent show seen weekly by millions of South Asian Americans and on which Asha will make a special appearance as superstar judge. In concert with Asha, Amit Kumar will reprise some of the famous duets she shared with his father during Bhosle’s remarkable career.
That career has taken Asha Bhosle from the Golden Age of filmi (Indian film music) to her current and crowning artistic achievement: her scheduled award this year of the “Padma Vibushan,” one of the highest civilian honors in India. This award honors a lifetime of artistic achievements that are all the more stunning for a woman of modest means born in India in 1933. Asha and her sister Lata Mangeshkar virtually defined the female voice over two generations of Bollywood musicals, with Asha personifying more rebellious and flirtatious characters against her sister’s more cerebral and philosophical style. After a difficult early marriage, Bhosle married one of India’s great film composers, R.D. Burman, and they remained one of Indian film industry’s true power couples until Burman’s death in 1994. After a history-making career in film music, Asha went on to become the first Indian woman ever nominated for a Grammy for her recording “Legacy” with Indian classical musician Ali Akbar Khan. She has collaborated with Western pop artists including Boy George (“Bow Down, Mister”) and R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe (“The Way You Dream’). Bhosle’s voice has been sampled by artists from the Black Eyed Peas to Sarah Brightman (in her CD “Harem”). And she broke another musical barrier with her entree into the classical music world in 2006 via a CD and tour with the Kronos Quartet. Their CD “You’ve Stolen My Heart” was nominated for a 2006 Grammy.
In her private life, Asha has long been known for her passion for the culinary arts and has been called on time and again to cook her special recipes for friends and colleagues. In 2002, she realized a long-time dream with the opening in Dubai of the first “Asha’s” Restaurant, part of what is now a growing collection of restaurants with locations in the Middle East (including Kuwait, with Qatar soon to launch) and the U.K. (Birmingham, Liverpool and ten other locations in the works). Asha’s Restaurants in North America, as well as a cookbook, are already on the horizon.
But for now, 2008 is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to celebrate a true milestone in Asha Bhosle’s career. The new recordings on the CD “75 Years of Asha” --- and the special series of concerts that surround the release --- uniquely showcase what has always made Asha Bhosle special. They are a rare jewel in the crown of an artist for whom celebrating the past is always best accomplished by passionately embracing the future.
ASHA BHOSLE - 75 Years of Asha North American Tour 2008
Friday April 4 Toronto, Ont, CN Roy Thompson Hall
Sunday April 6 Philadelphia, PA Kimmel Center
Sunday April 13 Boston, MA Symphony Hall
Thursday April 17 New York, NY Carnegie Hall
Friday April 18 Ft Lauderdale, FL Broward Center for the Performing Arts
Saturday April 19 Atlantic City, NJ Caesar’s Palace, Circus Maximus Theatre
Sunday April 26 Phoenix, AZ Orpheum Theatre
Sunday April 27 Los Angeles, CA Walt Disney Concert Hall
[More dates may be added, itinerary subject to change]
ASHA BHOSLE TOUR LINEUP:
Asha Bhosle :: Vocals
Amit Kumar :: Guest Vocals
Nitin Shankar :: Music Director/ Percussionist
Anup Shankar :: Electronic Pads
Sachin Dhamankar:: Dholak /Tabla
Ankeet Bham:: Drums
Santosh Mulekar :: Keyboards
Deepak Walke:: Keyboards
Narendra Salaskar :: Guitar
Dominic Fernandes:: Bass
Asha Bhosle was born in Sangli (Maharashtra) on 8th September 1933. India's most iconic singer turns 75 this year. Daughter of the pioneer singer-actor Dinanath Mangeshkar and sister to Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar,
Asha has warbled her way into zillions of music lovers’ hearts, enshrining her as India's most versatile singer ever and popularizing Indian music on the international stage.
Her first recorded song was in the Marathi film ‘Majha Bal’(1943) and her first Hindi song was in the film ‘Chunariya’ (1946). Rising from the ranks, Asha blazed new trails in the 50's and 60’s with her musical hits in various films. In the 60's & 70’s the debut and rise of songwriter Rahul Dev Burman (whom she married later) coincided with her peaking as a singer in films like ‘Teesri Manzil’, ‘Caravan’, ‘Yaadon ki Baaraat’, ‘Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin’, etc. The changing face of Indian cinema and its music saw Asha recording non-stop, at the peak of popularity and the recipient of constant awards. The maximum numbers of songs were recorded in these decades.
The 80's were an interesting time in the musical world: running parallel to the pop-culture was the surge of international musical fusion and the swift revival of ghazal culture (ghazals are mystical Indian love songs). Asha teamed up with Ghulam Ali to present the highest selling ghazal album "Meraj-e-Ghazal"; with Hariharan to create "Aabshar-e-Ghazal" (featured on the first WOMAD album by Peter Gabriel) and lent her voice to the hauntingly beautiful ghazals and 'nazmz' of the movie classic "Umrao Jaan" (for which she won her first National Award bringing her government recognition as India's finest singer). It was during this phase that R.D. Burman, Gulzar and Bhosle also teamed up to produce the riveting music of "Ijaazat" (her second National Award). In 1984, she became the first Indian popular singer to form a pop group overseas called ‘The West India Company’. The album saw her team up with Peter Luscombe of pop group Blancmange and Vince Clark of pop group Yazoo. She later teamed up with Boy George to sing the hugely successful "Bow Down Mister". Thus, Asha Bhosle became the first Indian singer to open avenues for other Indian musicians to a global and international audience.
After the passing away of husband Rahul Dev Burman in 1984, the fervid '90's saw Asha blazing new trails with the musical sensation AR Rahman in films like ‘Rangeela’, ‘Taal’, etc. But not one to rest on laurels, she went to the US to collaborate with Ali Akbar Khan's on her first Grammy nominated album "Legacy" (1995), reaching an international audience of Indian classical music lovers. Between endless audio-video recording sessions, world tours and award ceremonies that now included MTV, Channel V and the Grammys, Asha's popularity scaled new heights.
Teaming up with boy band pop group Code Red for the song "We Will Make It" Asha also celebrated being the voice for a new breed of film stars and the darling of three generations, underscored when UK-based pop group 'Cornershop' sang "Brimful of Asha" in her honor. Turning 70 was another high for this modern Renaissance woman who, despite being a great grandmother, was recording internationally with singers half her age, like Michael Stipe (R.E.M.), Robbie Williams, Cricketer Brett Lee and The Kronos Quartet, with whom she garnered her second Grammy nomination.
A quick mathematical calculation: She sang her first song in 1943 when she was 10, she has recorded in 18 languages, with 321 composers, 473 lyricists, 312 co-singers. She completed her golden jubilee in the Indian Film Industry in 1993 and with over 13,000 songs to her credit she became the most ever recorded singer in the world. A host of other awards like Doctorates from the Universities of Jalgaon and Amravati, 14 Maharashtra State Government awards, the 1997 and 2001 MTV Viewers Choice award, 4 Channel V awards, the Freddie Mercury award, the Sur Singar, Filmfare Lifetime Achievement and the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Award are notable accolades Asha Bhosle has received in her glorious career.
The 2008 Padma Vibhushan award, one of India’s highest civilian honors, is a fitting tribute and recognition of her immense talent and contribution to world music.
AMIT KUMAR (born in 1952) is one of Bollywood’s leading playback singers and actors. As a child, he acted in films that were directed by and starred his late father, Kishore Kumar. Amit Kumar performs international stage shows highlighting his father’s and his own songs.
His mother, Ruma Guha Thakurta, is a top Bengali actress and founder of the Calcutta Youth Choir. At a young age, he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps. Acting in his father’s films and singing along with him on stage gave Amit a confidence found in few of his peers. Though (like his father) he did not train in Indian classical music, he did his riyaaz in the form of singing practice, mainly of his father’s songs. For the last ten years, he has been grooming under Pandit Satyanarayan Sharma.
Kumar’s first recording, made when he was 11, was “Main Panchi Matwala Re” for his father in Door Ka Rahi (1971). His first major adult song was R. D. Burman’s “Bade Ache Lagte Hain (Balika Badhu).” He enjoyed success during the ’80s and early ’90s, becoming the signature voice for actors like Kumar Gaurav, Anil Kapoor, and Amitabh Bachchan. He also shared an excellent rapport with Burman, producing songs including “Kya Hua Ik Baat Par” and “Jaaneman Jaanejigar,” and a number of his songs appeared in various Bollywood films.
Kumar’s career in the ’80s began on a high note with his Qurbani chart-topper “Laila O Laila” and the Hum Paanch duet “Kaa Janu Main Sajaniya.” In 1981, he made a major breakthrough in Love Story, with hit numbers like “Yaad Aa Rahi Hai” and “Dekho Maine Dekha Hai,” also winning the FilmFare award for these songs. Having developed a style distinct from his father’s, yet with a degree of similarity, Kumar continued to record hit numbers in the 80s – his busiest decade as a singer. Soon after, Kumar entered the top league of singers. Burman gave him major movies, like Romance, Teri Kasam, Lovers, and Jawaani (“Tu Rootha To Main Ro Doonga Sanam”). He sang under a vast array of composers, such as Usha Khanna, Shankar (Jaikishan), Hridaynath Mangeshkar, Bappi Lahiri, and Anand-Milind. He recorded voices for various stars, including Dharmendra, Shashi Kapoor, Randhir, Rishi and Rajeev Kapoor, Kumar Gaurav, Sanjay Dutt, Anil Kapoor, Vinod Khanna, Jeetendra, Rajesh Khanna, Shatrughan Sinha, Raj Babbar, Vinod Mehra, Govinda, Jackie Shroff, and Amitabh Bachchan.
In 1988, Kumar hit it big with “Ek Do Teen” from Tezaab. He had subsequent hits like “Oye Oye” from Tridev in 1989. After a brief hiatus, Kumar returned to singing with albums like Mad and Dam Dama Dam. After his father’s death in 1987, some music directors did try to give him “Kishore-esque” songs, but Amit did not want to end up as his father’s clone.
For the most part, Kumar performs live shows and records Bengali albums. His non-film albums, like his Hindi album Mad, have shown that he is an ace composer and an innovative singer, just like his father. Most recently, he sang “Dil Mein Baji Guitar” in the Bollywood movie Apna Sapna Money Money (2006).