Life Just Bounces don't you get worried at all. (A weblog of music and otrogenerica)

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Song of the day: #15 Kishore Kumar – "Bom Chik, Bom Chik"

Lachlann found today's Song of the Day, "Bom Chik, Bom Chik" by Indian playback singer, actor, lyricist, composer, producer, director and screenwriter Kishore Kumar, on Spotify, and it fills me with great joy.

i love everything about this song, from the opening Indian-language1 spiel and Kumar's bypass of the usual counting in favour of an enthusiastic "A, B, C, D!" to the sudden ending, marked, bizarrely, by a cuckoo clock going off. The gleefully onomatopoeiac vocal rides an insistent shuffling rhythm, occasionally answered by serene brass arrangements, until at 02:43, a completely unexpected speed change-up leaves Kumar just enough time to spit out a few more rapid lines before the song ends. i don't know what any of this means, but it's great.

Some of Kumar's high-spirited whoops and howls also reminded me a little of the vocalisations of American roots music (ok, i admit it, the first thing i thought of was the dancing chicken from Stroszek,2 as soundtracked by Sonny Terry). His Wiki bio indeed reveals that in developing his own style instead of emulating his hero K. L. Saigal, Kumar incorporated a yodelling style copped from country blues pioneer Jimmie Rodgers.

The bio also reveals KK to have been quite the practical joker:

Kishore Kumar had put a "Beware of Kishore" sign at the door of his Warden Road flat, where he stayed for some time while his bungalow  was being done up. Once, the producer-director H. S. Rawail, who owed him some money, visited his flat to pay the dues. Kishore Kumar took the money, and when Rawail offered to shake hands with him, he reportedly put Rawail's hand in his mouth, bit it, and asked "Didn’t you see the sign?". Rawail laughed off the incident and left quickly.[15]

According to another reported incident, once Kishore Kumar was to record a song for the producer-director G. P. Sippy. As Sippy approached his bungalow, he saw Kishore going out in his car. Sippy pleaded him to stop his car, but Kishore only increased the speed of his car. Sippy chased him to Madh Island, where Kishore Kumar finally stopped his car near the ruined Madh Fort. When Sippy questioned his strange behavior, Kishore Kumar refused to recognize or talk to him and threatened to call police. Sippy had to return. Next morning, Kishore Kumar reported for the recording. An angry Sippy questioned him about his behavior on the previous day. However, Kishore Kumar insisted that Sippy must have seen a dream, and claimed that he was in Khandwa on the previous day.
In the light of this song, the above makes total sense.

mp3: Kishore Kumar – "Bom Chik, Bom Chik" [YSI]

1 i'm aware there isn't an "Indian language" as such, but Kishore sang in Bengali, Hindi, Marathi, Assamese, Gujarati, Kannada, Bhojpuri, Malayalam and Oriya if not more, and i don't speak any of those so i can't tell which one this is in.
2 And i forgot how funny the kick drum-playing duck and fire-truck driving rabbit are in that sequence.

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