Last year B-Music gave us a collection of tracks from the inexhaustible Tamil filmi composer Ilaiyaraaja. This year they nail an annex to that building and give us 17 songs from one of his favored singers, Krishnan Nair Shantakumari Chithra, nicknamed by the public Little Nightingale. If this album is a reliable guide then her on-screen persona is a Nice Girl with a sense of humour. She characterises herself with dauntless flutters, like punchlines. The composer likes Chithra so much that sometimes he quadruples her, and, magicked by the wand of circa-1990 technology, she vibrates. It used to be that “classic” Indian film music in the West had a 1960s date. Now classic is creeping closer. But the impression these albums leave is still the same: irrepressible innovation.
// Notes from the Road
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