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Indian jazz diva to be honoured in US

india Updated: Sep 19, 2006 03:32 IST
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Legendary Indian diva of jazz, funk and soul, Asha Puthli will be honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 7th Bollywood Music Awards in Atlantic City on November 4 for her "outstanding contribution to global music".

Born and brought up in Mumbai, Asha was dubbed as a "genius" by John Hammond, the powerful impresario of Columbia Records, who also discovered Billie Holiday, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.

Hammond sent her to record what became perhaps her best-known performance - the vocals on Ornette Coleman's Science Fiction album - for which she won Downbeat magazine's Critics Poll for Best Female Vocalist alongside Dee Dee Bridgewater and Ella Fitzgerald.

"It's an honour to be appreciated once again by the younger generation...I feel as if they really understand what my music is all about," Asha said in a statement.

"It's exciting to be finally getting all this recognition in the United States. I had a very difficult time being accepted as an Indian woman doing jazz, funk and R&B in the early 1970s. Now India is finally on the cover of Time and Newsweek. Things are changing and I'm glad."

Asha is a busy woman these days. Early this month, she appeared in a sold-out concert at Joe's Pub in New York's Public Theater, while last month she hogged the limelight during the Central Park's SummerStage with special guests Black Sheep and Dewey Redman.

Besides returning to the stage, she also appears on Bill Laswell's new album, Asana OHM Shanti, along with Karsh Kale, Pharoah Sanders and Ustad Sultan Khan.

Her new single, Waiting for An Angel, has just been released for global distribution by the Italian label Cinevox.

She will also release her best of collection Space Talk: The Best of Asha Puthli, The CBS Years, including her classic hits Space Talk and Right Down Here.

Her 1973 debut album, Asha Puthli and her 1976 cult favourite The Devil Is Loose, called a "masterpiece" by, are also set to be time available for the first time on iTunes and other digital websites.

Trained in Indian classical singing, Robert Palmer of The New York Times once praised her voice as: "the sound of raga meets Aretha Franklin" while Times pop critic Jon Pareles called her "a master performer".

The Bollywood Music Awards will be a gala event of international stature honouring outstanding achievements of Indian music makers, singers, and musicians.

This year's show will be hosted by popular VJ and remix queen Sophie Choudhury with 15 dazzling performers.

Some of the most popular singers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Caribbean will perform at the ceremony.