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Asha Puthli

Singer from Mumbai

Armando Bellmas
Armando Bellmas
Asha Puthli

Today on Ecléctico you're listening to Indian singer Asha Puthli. On this song, she put a horn-based worldly spin on a tune by J.J. Cale. Puthli's records have been in high demand by collectors for years and her music has been sampled by hip hop's greats. You'll go deeper with an excerpt from an essay by Ben Greenman on McSweeney's.

"Right Down Here" by Asha Puthli
1973 | Singer from Mumbai

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While I waited, I listened to the radio, which was tuned to a local station that subsisted on a diet of “Layla,” “Stir It Up,” and heaping servings of Jimmy Buffet. Just before noon, something common, probably “Take it Easy,” ended, and something uncommon began. Jazz-funk, I guess you’d call it, ticking drums and throbbing bass and watery organ. Then came the horns, the first sign of something special (they were short stabbing bursts, as if arranged for telegraph), and then the voice. It was a deep female voice, vaguely foreign and worldly, and it was singing about the fact that her man was keeping her “right down here.” In the second verse, the woman’s voice leapt an octave, into what it was immediately clear was her natural register. Then it dropped again, into a whispery kind of nonsinging. All in all, it was a spectacular vocal performance, so spectacular that I didn’t even notice that my wife was tapping on the passenger window. I unlocked the door and told her to listen to the song; even though she heard less than a minute, it hooked her, too, and we drove back to the hotel and spent the better part of the afternoon getting in and out of bed and calling the station to request the song again.

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