Bollywood Brass Band

Rahmania: The Music of A.R. Rahman

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If it seems an odd idea, a brass band playing Bollywood music, it shouldn't: There's a long Indian tradition of brass band music that dates back to the raj, and it is often featured in wedding parties. But London's Bollywood Brass Band continues to tweak history a bit with its second album. This time around, they focus exclusively on the music of composer A.R. Rahman, the leading light of Bollywood film music -- their first album contained two of his compositions. It's a tour through many of his best-known tunes, and there's a freewheeling, joyous abandon to the performances, and they're not afraid of getting even a little raucous at times, as on "Kismat Se Tum Hum Ko Mile." And when the Dhol Foundation's Johnny Kalsi adds his big drum to an already massed sound, it can become incendiary. As on their debut, they employ the remix -- four tracks this time, including "Kimat" reimagined by Transglobal Underground. Not all work as well as the originals -- "Rangeela's Non-Stop Go-Go Lounge" isn't as effective as "Rangeela Medley," but where it comes off, it's a great idea. One of Britain's most unsung bands, the Bollywood Brass Band deserves broad exposure, not only for the tradition it continues and broadens, but for the sheer delight of the music it makes.

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