2018 will also recognise what would have been George Harrison’s 75th birthday - the Beatle celebrated his 25th birthday with friends at the Ashram. Celebrations for this will form part of a year-long programme of unique Indian-inspired events, workshops and Q&A sessions. The new exhibit will be one of the highlights during a year in which Liverpool celebrates its fantastic cultural offering, ten years after the city was awarded ‘European Capital of Culture’ status. ‘Beatles in India’ will become part of The Beatles Story’s exhibition on the Albert Dock for two years and is scheduled to open to the public on 16th February 2018, 50 years to the day that John Lennon, George Harrison and their wives Cynthia Lennon and Pattie Boyd arrived in India." And while you are in Liverpool, check out the amazing British Music Experience (my piece about them for the Chris Barber website here).
Also on the radar is the news that Anoushka and Sukanya Shankar have donated Ravi's 1961 sitar to The British Museum! From the Museum blog: "The sitar now on display in Room 33 is particularly special. It was made for the great musician Ravi Shankar (1920–2012) in 1961 by the Calcutta-based instrument maker Nodu Mullick. Mullick made four sitars for Shankar, and we believe this to be the first of the group. Ravi Shankar spent his whole life presenting the artistic traditions of his own country to the rest of the world. Initially he did this through participation in the dance troupe of his elder brother, Uday Shankar, but in his late teens, he gave up dancing in favour of music and above all, the sitar."
He came from a family of Bengali origin though he was born in Benares (now Varanasi) in northern India, in 1920. His elder brother, Uday, was a well-known dancer who both studied and performed in London – incredibly he worked with Anna Pavlova, their piecede resistance, a pas de deux: Radha-Krishna. Uday is known to have visited the British Museum to study Indian medieval sculpture to enable him to better understand how to develop his new Indian dance. The wonderful gift of the sitar is therefore just the latest chapter in the history of connections between the Shankar family and the Museum."
The gift has come from Sukanya Shankar, the widow of Ravi Shankar, their daughter Anoushka Shankar and the Ravi Shankar Foundation. Anoushka is also herself a renowned sitar player, both following in the footsteps of her father but also striking out on her own path of musical expression and discovery. The British Museum has put together a beautiful short film (below) to promote Ravi and the new exhibit (with wonderful footage from the film, Raga, produced by The Beatles Apple Films in 1971)."
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