The last empress of music, Asha Bhosle, 83, bids goodbye to the UK with her ‘Farewell Tour’ at the Genting Arena in Birmingham, on Saturday 16th of September, and at the SSE Arena, Wembley on Sunday 17th of September.
The legendary musician is best known as a leading playback singer in Hindi cinema for over a thousand Bollywood movies. Born into a travelling theatre family in 1933, Bhosle performed songs and short plays from a young age, finally breaking into playback singing in 1947 and destined for greatness in the industry for seven decades.
Bohsle’s incredible repertoire has surpassed all other artists and her record breaking achievement was marked into the Guinness Book of World Records in 2011 as the most prolific recording artist, with up to 13,000 songs in over 20 languages since 1947. The World Records Academy also recognised her as the “Most Recorded Artist” in the world in September 2009.
The Government of India bestowed its own honour to the artist with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2000 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2008. Bhosle also holds seven Filmfare Best Female Playback Awards out of 18 nominations and soon after her cinema debut in 2013, as an actress in the film ‘Mai‘, she received critical acclaim for her performance.
“I must have done very good deeds, thats why God has given me this voice, I believe that, I am nothing, it is Gods blessing that I am here”, said Asha Bhosle, as she humbled herself in an biographical documentary speaking about her ‘gift’.
Other than her monumental work ethic, Bhosle set herself apart from the crowd thanks to her unique range; her work repertoire includes film music, ghazals, bhajans, traditional Indian classical music, folk songs, qawwalis, and Rabindra Sangeets. Rock and roll and pop influences were also introduced into her songwriting, which sparked controversy at the time as steering away from the ‘classical music’ was considered to be ‘too sexy’.
If you are unfamiliar with the Bollywood scene, you may still know of Bhosle as her influence in the UK was immortalised by the 90s British alternative rock band Cornershop with their hit track ‘Brimful of Asha’, dedicated to the artist where is referred to as “Sadi rani“, Punjabi for “our queen“.
This Asha Bhosle article was written by Gaia Castelfranco, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Zoe Anderson.