Tuesday, February 6, 2007
In the early 90's I had access to a music library that had a large collection of music from non-English speaking countries and one day I stumbled on some records in the "return's bin" from India, in the Hindi language and was firstly attracted to the great covers, and it was clear they were film soundtracks. I picked them up and went to listen to them and the first one I put on was "The Burning Train"...and I was hooked. I spent months and months going through every Hindi record ( 500+ albums ) listening to snippets of every song, admittely attracted to the songs which used western music combined with Indian music, or with English lyrics. The collection was mostly from from the late 60's-mid 80's, so of course a lot of the ones I was attracted to had a disco or rock or 80's flavour to them. After the Hindi ones I went through the other languages - Tamil, Punjabi, Gujarati, Kannada...what a world !!
Most of my friends thought I'd flipped out, but other than the crossover with Western music, I was in love with the wild production of the music - the strange twists & turns, the distorted reverberated vocals and brass/string stabs, the sometimes insane singing, or the funny translations into English, basically the stylistic madness of the whole thing.
At the time I taped all the songs which caught my ear...mostly just on cassette sadly, but then ended buying quite a few albums. When the Cowboy Kulla single showed up on my main blog, the sideroom 7" singles blog, I decided to try and hunt out the billion gems I'd collected. This was going to be a lengthy process and I'd never nail it down to just 10 songs, so today limited myself to those that I could currently find. Obviously 10 songs here is but a very very microscopic selection of all the great Indian film music made, and probably I could never do it justice anyway, but will sporadically put together some podcasts from my point of view and how I appreciate the music.
Recently there have been some great CD comps released, especially the Bombay Connection series - Vol 1 has The Burning Train on it, which is where it comes from here today. The "musical director" of the film was RD Burman and he seems, along with Bappi Lahiri, to be a name that appears on the credits of most of the most of the music I was attracted to. In fact probably more Lahiri as he tended to "experiment" more with "new styles" of music to incorporate.
The youtube video at the bottom of the post is in fact a Bappi Lahiri effort and is called "Koi Yahan Nache Nache" and bears a remarkable resemblance to 'Video Killed The Radio Star" and the scene is the movie is well worth watching.
There's a few other songs on this podcast with a "resemblance" or "borrows from" Western songs - "Dil Use Do Jo Jaan De" ( tk 9 ) is definitely 'With A Little Help From My Friends", and in "Rambha Ho Ho Ho" ( tk 7 ) there is a break of the song very like 'I Feel Love", and for some reason in "Mere Saath Gaoge" ( tk 6 ) they suddenly break into "Georgie Girl". Go figure.
Speaking of "Mere Saath Gaoge" this is from the Tarzan movie ( album cover above ) and I am constantly knocked over by the "backing vocals" on this one - bizzare snorting & bird calls & animal noises, a bit like Arthur Lyman on angel dust ( or like Martin Denny/Harold Chang is strangling him ). Plus there's a slight ska-break in the middle. I love it !!
Then I can't go past the songs "Yeh Jawani Din Char" ( Tk 4 ) for it's wild garage/jazz/freakbeat vibe with nutty vocals that freely descends in unbridled chaos. Or "Nothing Is Impossible' ( tk 8 ) with it's crazy psych organ ( and yes the vocals ). I always wondered what could possibly be happening in the film at the moments when songs like these where playing.
"Disco 82" ( tk 5 ) was one that stuck in my head for it's chorus "Disco 82...Disco 82...la la la". I nearly fell of my chair when someone did a cover version of this in 2004 !! Unbelievable.
And finally special mention of the songs "Rock Is Love" ( tk 2 ) and "You Are My Chicken Fry" ( tk 10 ) both from the film "Rock Dancer", which was the follow up to "Disco Dancer" a film which featured the classics "Koi Yahan Nache Nache" ( see the video clip below ) but also the legendary "I Am A Disco Dancer" and "Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy Aaja", the latter which could be slipped on by a DJ today in an electro set .
Yes, "You Are My Chicken Fry", no I am not making it up. Basically it's the most unusual love song I have ever heard, anytime the words chocolate & cutlet are combined as a romantic compliment is genius in my book.
the burning train - podcast 1
The Burning Train - Podcast #1
1. The Burning Train ( Title Music ) - RD Burman, Asha Bhosle, Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Usha Mangeshkar, Padmini Kolhapure, Chorus
2. Rock Is Love - Alka Yagnik, Anup Kumar, Bali Brahmbhatt, Bappi Lahiri, Chorus
3. Pyar Ka Imithaan - Asha Bhosle & Chorus
4. Yeh Jawani Din Char - Amit Kumar, Asha Bhosle, Bappi Lahiri, Bhagwan, Bhupinder, Chorus
5. Disco 82 - Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar,Chorus
6. Mere Saath Gaoge - Uttara Kelkar, Vijay Benedict, Bappi Lahiri
7. Rambha Ho Ho Ho - Bappi Lahiri, Chorus, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Sharon Prabhakar
8. Nothing Is Impossible - Asha Bhosle, Bappi Lahiri, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Chorus
9. Dil Use Do Jo Jaan De - Shankar & Jaikishen, Asha Bhosle, Mohd. Rafi, Shammi Kapoor, Chorus
10. You Are My Chicken Fry - Alka Yagnik, Anup Kumar, Bali Brahmbhatt, Bappi Lahiri, Chorus
VIDEO : "Koi Yahan Nache Nache" from the film "Disco Dancer"
Posted by sideroom at 3:28 AM