In Hindi film music, Yodelling has been associated with Kishore Kumar always. This transitional switch from your chest voice to a sudden head voice/falsetto had been a traditional crooning in the Western part of the globe. In the 20th century, Jimmy Rodgers popularized this type of singing in the 1920s and 1930s. Jimmy, who had a slightly harsh voice texture, when used to yodel, it used to give a very contradictory sound and hence made his yodels sound very appealing.
Talking of yodelling in Indian Film music, the first proper yodel I can think of is “Aati hai yaad humko January February” from Muqaddar(1950) sung by Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle, which happened to be their first duet together as well. Music Director was Khemchand Prakash, the real talent hunter of the 40s.My friend and a prominent record collector of Kolkata, Mr. Sanjay Sengupta told me that in Kaneez(1949), Kishore did yodel in the song “Duniya mein ameeron ko”, although in the records it was stripped off, and what we hear today in that song about Kishore is only “Bam chiki chiki..”etc. Since then, Kishore continued to sing plethora of yodelling incorporated songs, and rightfully became the best yodeller of Indian Cinema and for many one of the best in Global context also.
However, in this article you will have a relook into some other great Indian singers’ yodelling in the 50s and 60s. I will try to incorporate the video links as well (wherever possible), so that all can listen to them readily. The list is not comprehensive, and it is not a database but only an illustration intended article where we can discuss the lesser known songs and their singers.
“Unse rippi tippi ho gayi” is a song from Agra Road(1956), composed by Roshan. It is to be noted that Roshan had earlier made Kishore Kumar yodel in Maashooqa(1953), but 3 years down the line, in this song he opted Mohd Rafi to do the yodelling job. A duet of Geeta Dutt and Rafi, Rafi yodels for couple of lines in the interludes.
A song of 1961, and the first movie of Feroz Khan as a hero- Raju Reporter(1961). S Mohinder uses Mohd Rafi again for yodelling here for the hero. Again, a basic yodelling, but interesting since it came from Rafi’s vocals.
A lesser heard yodelling of Rafi again posted above. This is another late 50s movie.
Manna De does a yodelling in this R D Burman composed number in Baharon Ke Sapne(1967). This is a great feat achieved by Young Pancham to have used Manna De for yodelling in this superb duet with Lata Mangeshkar. Even Lata does an unconventional “haah..ah” here, a sound majorly associated with Asha Bhosle .
Our Asha tai does her attempt to yodel in this superhit Shankar Jaikishen number. Nothing needs to be written about this song.
Yet another from Muqaddar(1950). Again a Kishore-Asha duet, but the music was done by James Singh. Kishore does the major yodelling in this song, but towards the last few seconds, Asha also joins the yodelling with Kishore. Apart from Asha, in those days, I have not heard any other female singers’ yodel. Have you?
Of course, Amit Kumar and Rahul Dev Burman were the other two singers in that Golden Era who could regularly yodel, but since they were very known yodellers I have not discussed their songs here.
I hope this article would help some people to go and explore yodelling of other singers as well.