Mit La Sesión Cubana erfüllt sich der italienische Musiker Zucchero einen langjährigen Wunsch: Er nahm das Album in Havanna auf, wo er mit diversen kubanischen und lateinamerikanischen Musikern zusammenarbeiten konnte. Auf der gemeinsam mit Don Was produzieren Platte covert Zucchero einige seiner früheren Hits im Latin-Gewand ("Cuba Libre", "Everybody's Gott o Learn Sometime"), spielt eine eigene Version des bekannten Liedes "Guantanamera" (die als erste Single fungiert) und steuert auch einige neue Songs bei ("Sabor a ti", "Love Is All Around")., Rovi
From perhaps the most prolifically recorded artist in worldwide history comes the Rough Guide installment devoted to Asha Bhosle. Bhosle has some 20,000 recordings to her name, making a compilation of 16 a nearly impossible task. This compilation was culled from her full archives, with the help of Bhosle herself, as well as her son, so the songs work surprisingly well to represent the various facets of her work. The album opens with a song heavily informed by early rock & roll and swing jazz, a revolutionary sound for its time. It moves quickly through disco on its way to a pair of songs that are somewhat more standard in nature, showcasing the basic forms of film music and Hindustani classical at the same time. "Mera Kuchh Saaman" is a tour de force for her vocal ability, followed by a political work and a powerful chorus piece from the classic Mother India. A more experimental work follows, preceding some light classical, which itself is followed by a duet between Bhosle and her husband. A bit of a Hindu Marlene Dietrich number continues the stretch of innovations, followed by a shorter work that focuses on her ability to turn notes. The album finishes on a trio of classic Bollywood numbers, the final one including a duet with Mohammed Rafi. The full range of Bollywood sounds are represented here, all tied together under the banner of Bhosle's extensive work history. As such, it becomes an important album for those interested in the sound of the film factories of the subcontinent, as Bhosle's been there for nearly the full existence of the industry and usually at the forefront. Her vocals are outstanding, as one would expect, but the real treat for the listener is the chance to hear her ease in moving from one style to another and to be exposed to the full range of her abilities. Give it a listen as a veteran of the Bollywood recordings or as a newcomer -- it will serve well for either listener.
Adam Greenberg, Rovi
It's ironic that the most recognized album of A.R. Rahman is not his best work. For many Rahman fans, Slumdog Millionaire is not exactly the sound that they attribute to him. His Bollywood successes are designed as playback songs rather than as background scores. Thus, with the additional element of vocal melodies, his past accomplishments weigh heavily in public perception of his incredible music. While it very well deserved the enthusiastic applause at the Academy Award and Golden Globe ceremonies, Slumdog Millionaire will ignite lesser fervor in someone who has followed Rahman's music closely over the past two decades. It still has the all-pervading signature sound of Rahman with its brilliant percussion, ominous electronica, and somber crooning, yet it displays a more hurried pace in contrast to his more subtle offerings, in which music serves as a colorful canvas behind beautiful vocal portraits. What's more interesting with this album is the flash of experimentation that wouldn't have been possible in a Bollywood album -- minimalist electronica with "Riots," acid jazz with "Millionaire," and big beat with "Liquid Dance." Rahman packs this album with his usual well-credited crew, including Blaaze for the hip-hop-styled "Gangsta Blues," Sukhwinder Singh for album highlight "Jai Ho," and Suzanne for the lighthearted "Latika's Theme" and "Dreams on Fire." The most talked-about addition in the list of singers here is M.I.A. She delivers exciting vocals on the opening theme "O... Saya." The album also includes an original song from M.I.A.'s Kala album, the hit "Paper Planes" (also here in a special remix), as well as the Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy composition "Aaj Ki Raat" from the film Don. The success of Slumdog Millionaire's music can be traced back to the success of the film, and while the world was late in noticing Rahman until Slumdog Millionaire remedied that situation, listeners should explore his other offerings -- both past and, one assumes, future -- that could be considered more highly deserving of accolades.
Bhasker Gupta, Rovi
It’s imposing to even try to survey the cinematic pop music work of India's Bollywood in a single disc, for the number of movies the Bombay-based center of the Hindi-language film industry has released since the 1940s probably outnumbers the stars in the heavens and its actors and actresses manage to sing a song, or two or three, in every one of them -- only it isn't them singing, but "playback singers" who provide the prerecorded vocals, while the actors lip-sync them onscreen. Playback singing is a precise and difficult art, and some playback singers like Lata Mangeshkar (who is represented here with three selections) have become shadowy stars whose faces are never seen onscreen. While it barely begins to scratch the surface of Bollywood’s massive musical catalog, Rough Guide has at least provided a starting point, and the track-by-track liner notes will help novices begin to navigate the confusing Bollywood waters.