Sunday, December 13, 2009

Vijaya Anand: Dance, Raja, Dance

Okay, I have a weakness for Bollywood, but I am in no way an afficianando. When I lived in Brooklyn, and had cable for the only time in my life, I would watch Bollywood films in rapt fascination -- often having little idea of what was going on, but just as often fairly able to follow the archetypal and cliched storylines. What I LOVED, was the crazy, frenzied dancing and singing -- again, often in the most ludicrous narrative situations. "Dad died; let's dance!"

Vijaya Anand's contribution to Bollywood music is his use of everything except the kitchen sink (and I think I hear THAT in one of these cuts!). Don't like what you're hearing? Stick around for about 4 or 6 bars and it will change! I mean, his music changes more than mountain weather! In "Naane Maharaja" (I Am The Emperor), there's some calypso rhythms, jazz horns, old-timey banjos, dance-hall dub effects, a bit of techno-pop, violins scratching away like fiddles and weird sound effects, not to mention the South Indian drums! In about four minutes of madness!

I mean it, when I need to make a visitor smile, I put this cd on and it never fails. You cannot be sad and listen to this music. On the other hand, if you are not into it; if you do not just give yourself over to it, you will be sooooo irritated by this music!

This was one of the first releases on David Byrne's Luaka Bop label, and after 17 years, it still works its crazy rhythm charms!

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