Alka Yagnik, Asha Bhosle, Chorus, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Babu

Jessica Hopper

By Jessica Hopper

on 04.22.11 in Reviews


Alka Yagnik, Asha Bhosle, Chorus, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar

Babu is a five-song soundtrack featuring a mostly female vocal ensemble led by the legendary Asha Bhosle. Assembled against a classic (and classy) backdrop of the traditional Bollywood-sound canon, heavily reverbed tablas pop and echo, cinematic strings blow and snap like wet sheets on the line, reed-voiced girl choruses chime, hammered dulcimers sing, recorders coo, plucky sitars pluck and then there are the bells, bells, bells. The standout on this collection is "Main Kunwari Albell," which begins with a strange, unclassifiable growl; Bhosle and Yagnik duet, Bhosle's voice sweetly calling forth from an echo chamber in heaven, Yagnik sad and at times downright animalistic. The string arrangement mirrors the tablas and is fast and, sometimes, almost violent; it's dramatic, to say the least. Also notable is the cowboy-balladesque oompa-oompa of "Yeh Mera Jeevan," which features delightful laughing interjections from Bhosle. This is truly fantastic stuff.