Exhibition ‘The Beatles and India’ inaugurated at Casa de la India

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  • The exhibition can be visited from September 16 to November 7, 2021 at Valladolid’s Casa de la India.

The show has been produced by the Casa de la India Foundation with the support of the Valladolid City Council, its Municipal Foundation for Culture, Valladolid’s Joint Partnership for the Promotion of Tourism and the Valladolid Earlier today the exhibition ‘The Beatles in India’ was officially presented. The event has been produced by Casa de la India with the support of the Valladolid City Council and its Municipal Foundation for Culture together with Valladolid’s Joint Partnership for the Promotion of Tourism and the Valladolid Film Festival in collaboration with the Embassy of India, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Silva Screen Records (London) and the Ravi Shankar Foundation.

Opening ceremony attended by prominent Indian authorities

The inauguration was attended by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Culture of the Government of India Meenakashi Lekhi, the Ambassador of India in Spain Sanjay Verma, the mayor of the Valladolid City Council andpresident of the Casa de la India Foundation Óscar Puente, the director of the Casa de la India Foundation Guillermo Rodríguez, the director of the Valladolid International Film Festival Javier Angulo, the deputy vicechancellor for Internationalization of the University of Valladolid Paloma Castro, the director general for Cultural Policies of the Junta de Castilla y León José Ramón González and the curator of the exhibition Blanca de la Torre.

The exhibition immerses us in The Beatles’ dialogue with India in the 1960s and beyond

The exhibition details the relationship of The Beatles with the culture and philosophy of India and, in particular, the historical journey that brought the band to India in 1968 and the influence that this country exerted on the band’s music. Their journey was not only physical, but spiritual as well, and marked a before and after for the Liverpool quartet. The exhibition is structured in three sections : the first, and the main pillar of the event, focuses on the trip that the band made to an ashram in Rishikesh to introduce themselves into transcendental meditation through the famous guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. This section displays images, documentation and an immersive installation. Here the magical texture generated by the light and the sound spaces of the immersive installation stand out, with white fabrics next to a banyan tree as an allegory of the natural landscape of Rishikesh. Visitors will be able to listen to cover versions by contemporary musicians from India of some of the songs that The Beatles wrote, inspired by their stay in Rishiskesh, at the foot of the Himalayas.

The second part focuses on the figure of George Harrison and his deep life-long relationship with the Indian sitarist Ravi Shankar, a key figure in understanding the Beatle’s interest in Indian culture which fuelled a fascination that enthused the rest of the Fab Four. This section also provides an introduction to Indian music and exhibits some of its main instruments. Finally, the sample’s last segment dedicates a small section to a milestone in the dialogue that took place in the seventies between Indian and Western music: the Concert for Bangladesh that was held in New York City in 1971 and was promoted by Harrison and Shankar ( this year marks its 50th anniversary). This was the first charity concert in international music history and has been dubbed by prestigious magazine Rolling Stone the best live album recorded in history.

The sample includes material donated by different organizations and collectors as well as other private loans from many countries, including those by Pattie Boyd, George Harrison’s first wife. Among other exhibits , visitors will be able to watch original photographs and reproductions, original manuscripts and letters, the gold record presented to George Harrison for The Concert for Bangladesh, audiovisuals, lyrics of songs composed in India or an original sitar played by Ravi Shankar and instruments of India.

The exhibition will remain in view at Casa de la India from September 16 to November 7, 2021 (Tuesday to Sunday from 12 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.)

A triad of events produced under the same title

The exhibition ‘The Beatles And India’ has been launched by Casa de la India on the occasion of the Spanish premiere of the homonymous film that will show for the first time in Spain within the framework of the Valladolid Film Festival. This new documentary about the Liverpool foursome by London-based Silva Screen Records will be screened on October 26 in the Time of History section.The trailer of the film can be seen in the exhibition at Casa de la India as part of the narrative on The Beatles’ trip to the Rishikesh ashram, along with original images and photographs.

In fact, the London production company, apart from providing some of the exhibition’s contents, gave permission to Casa de la India to use the same title and graphic design created for the film. Negotiations by the film’s producers are underway so that the exhibition accompanies the presentation of the film at festivals and promotional events in other countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany. The exhibition will also be available for touring in Spain after its Valladolid premiere.

Likewise, Silva Screen Records will publish this fall, in addition to the film’s soundtrack, the album Songs Inspired by The Film ‘The Beatles And India’, which accompanies the documentary and whose tracks feature prominently in the exhibition at Casa de la India since they celebrate the inspiration drawn by the band during their stay in India, as well as the enduring influence of their songs on the music artists of India. The album, which will be available for purchase during the exhibition at Casa de la India as a worldwide first before its release, features the participation of leading Indian artists who perform covers of India-related songs by The Beatles. Three of these artists, who are also interviewed in the documentary, Malavika Manoj, Tejas Menon and Neil Mukherjee, will travel to Spain following the invitation of Casa de la India for a European tour that will start at the end of October with a concert in Valladolid.

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