This Performance is Part of LA Phil’s World Music 2007/08 Series With Special Guest Amit Kumar
SUNDAY, APRIL 27, 2008, AT 7:30 PM
Media support provided by 89.9 KCRW
Bollywood star Asha Bhosle debuts at Walt Disney Concert Hall Sunday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m., for a one-night-only performance that covers the legacy of a passionate, prolific, and versatile singer. Amit Kumar joins Bhosle to help honor her musical journey with songs from her latest release: 75 Years of Asha: A Musical Journey.
Bollywood, the world’s largest film industry, has given birth to an equally popular genre of music. Bhosle is an integral part of this musical history and considered the most recorded female voices in the world. As a playback singer for more than 50 years, Bhosle’s vocals have been lip-synched by hundreds of Indian film actresses during her career. Speaking on her life in music, she says, “Music is like my breathing. The day it stops, my breath will stop too.” This concert is one of the many treasures in the LA PHIL’s World Music series, which concludes its 2007/08 season May 3 with the Kronos Quartet featuring Nunavut and special guest Tanya Tagaq.
Among the long list of great singers Bhosle has worked with, Kishore Kumar was one of the very best. Although he has since passed, his son, Amit (who has become a legend in his own right), was the ideal choice to unite with Bhosle for this program. Deciding to follow in his father’s footsteps at an early age, Amit Kumar has become a huge sensation as an actor and leading playback singer. While he did not train in Indian classical music, he did use his father’s films and stage work as a learning palette for his own successful career as an innovative singer and composer.
ASHA BHOSLE introduced American audiences to the range of her well-known and well-loved repertoire with Asha Bhosle: Love Supreme (Times Square Records, 2006), a double CD of love songs. The album – a two-sided coin of newly- recorded ghazals (a classical song form based in Persian and Urdu poetry that Bhosle describes as “a conversation between two lovers”) and her classic-romantic duets from some of Bollywood’s best-loved movies – is as diverse as the artist herself. Only a handful of singers have consistently provided the singing voice for almost all popular Bollywood actresses from the 1950s to date. This elite group, including Bhosle and her elder sister Lata Mangeshkar, has playfully vied to be the voice of the best roles, for the biggest stars to lip-synch to. Moving to Bombay after the death of her father, 9-year-old Asha and her elder sister started singing and acting in films to support their family. While she is best-known for her singing in Hindi films, Bhosle’s work has ranged from the classical to the popular, to more fusion-type Indipop and bhangra projects. She has recorded songs with Boy George, boy band Code Red, and Michael Stipe. And Cornershop paid tribute with their album Brimful of Asha. It may be a picture hard to imagine when her voice is coming out of the mouths of characters caught in the throes of Bollywood drama, but much of Bhosle’s inspiration comes from her home life and family. Her children and grandchildren are her chief advisors in developing new directions for her music. It is that intergenerational attunement that gives her an appeal that has lasted for five decades. In 2008, Bhosle celebrates her 75th birthday, which has inspired the release of 75 Years of Asha: A Musical Journey. Also this year, the president of India has bestowed upon her the Padma Vibhushan, which is the second highest civilian award in India. 75 Years of Asha is a journey through her career, featuring new recordings of her all time favorites, including songs made famous by these legendary female vocalists, who had a deep impact on Bhosle’s life.
AMIT KUMAR 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. 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 1980s 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”). 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).
EDITORS PLEASE NOTE:
SUNDAY, APRIL 27, 2008, at 7:30 pm
WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL, 111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles
World Music Series
AMIT KUMAR, special guest
KCRW is the media sponsor for the evening
Tickets ($35-$88) are on sale now online at LAPhil.com, at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office, or via credit card phone order at 323.850.2000. A limited number of $10 rush tickets for seniors and full time students may be available at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office two hours prior to the performance. Valid identification is required; one ticket per person; cash only. Groups of 10 or more may be eligible for special discounts for selected concerts and seating areas. For information, please call 323.850.2000.
# # #
Adam Crane, 213.972.3408, firstname.lastname@example.org; Lisa Bellamore, 213.972.3689, email@example.com; Photos: 213.972.3034