A.R. RAHMAN | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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A.R. RAHMAN

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Dubbed the "Asian Mozart" by the Daily Telegraph, 41-year-old composer A.R. Rahman redefined contemporary Indian film music in the early 90s, transforming a style that was formulaic and drowning in kitsch into something diverse and sophisticated, infused with everything from Baroque strings to pop guitar to dancehall beats. A student of Carnatic music who'd played keyboards on tour with tabla master Zakir Hussain at a young age, he earned a degree in Western classical music from Oxford and made commercial jingles at his home studio before taking his first film commission, Roja, in 1992. Since then he's scored 70 films and two Broadway musicals (Bombay Dreams and The Lord of the Rings), selling more than 200 million albums in the process. His Chicago debut promises to be a Bollywood-scale spectacle, with nearly 50 musicians, 20 dancers, and a dozen of India's top playback singers (the people whose voices you actually hear in Bollywood musicals), including Sukwhinder Singh, Sadhana Sargam, K.S. Chitra, and Hariharan. a 8 PM, Sears Centre, 5333 Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Estates, 888-732-7784, $40-$155. A

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