Grooves & Samples #35: Lata Mangeshkar – Tere Mere Beech Mein (1981)

Grooves & Samples is a frequent dive into old dusty crates of jazz, funk, soul and beyond.

Producing over a thousand movies annually, India is the world’s biggest movie-producing country.  All of these movies are also complemented with an official soundtrack -Indian films often include a music-sing-dance aspect- so the amount of soundtracks is steadily growing. Digging for beats and breaks in this vast output can be quite a job.

The influence of Indian music on western music is evident since, let’s say, the late 1960’s. On artists like The Beatles, Miles Davis and Cornershop, while modal improvisation, instruments like the sitar and tabla, and Eastern spirituality all made their way into the US and Europe. It wasn’t until a few decades later that the Indian film industry started taking ground in the western hemisphere.

The cinematic influence of Indian or Hindi films (often called Bollywood) on Hollywood is obvious since the 2000’s in, for instance, Baz Luhrman’s Moulin Rouge and of course Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire. Since the late 1970’s, few experimental music groups (Yellow Magic Orchestra, Devo) used Bollywood movies as an inspiration. It wasn’t until 2005 that Bollywood became big with The Black Eyed Peas’ Will.i.am freely sampling and reinterpreting Asha Bhosle’s repertoire. Just listen to Bhosle’s groovy 1972 outing from the movie Apradh and anyone can fill in Fergie’s lyrics.

Yet this week I like to focus on Asha’s older sister, Lata Mangeshkar. The ‘Nightingale of India’ is said to have released more than 30.000(!) songs. Lata and her sister Asha even got a Guinness Book Of Records certificate for most recorded artists in the world. Thus digging through only Lata’s discography can be an enduring task, to say the least… And of course beatmaker extraordinaire Madlib succeeded in digging up a few gems. For instance, Lata can be heard in Jaylib’s “Survival Test” from 2003.

But Lata made a big break a few years earlier, when one of her tracks was sampled for a number 1 hit single: “Toxic” by Britney Spears. All credits to Swedish production duo Bloodshy & Avant for grabbing the excellent hook off Lata Mangeshkar’s 1981 track “Tere Mere Beech Mein.”

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