I’ve always felt nauseatingly arrogant when identifying and describing the “heroes” or “inspirations” in my life. My meagre twenty nine years, whilst being thoroughly treasured in the queue for a lottery ticket and some party poppers are, in the most part, a drop in the ocean of the world and its inhabitants who I deeply respect.
Given my clear generationally conflicted mindset, it is probably less than unexpected that my world has been rocked by a sound most unconventional.
The Royal Festival Hall and I have a past. At aged eleven I was part of a school choir performing the opera, Carmen. A decade on, I returned to see lyricist Martha Wainwright and her most exceptional expletives. This year, the hallowed hall is the stage for a true savant, the undisputable master of percussion, Ravi Shankar.
Shankar (who is father to soul singer supreme, Norah Jones) has an association with Southbank Centre that goes back nearly 60 years. From his first performance in Royal Festival Hall in 1958, Shankar established a lifelong relationship with the venue, including several performances and significant premieres over the years.
Showcasing rarities from Shankar’s Royal Festival Hall concerts alongside other objects linked to sitar music, this collection pays tribute to a rich history of performances. The institutions upcoming premier of “Alchemy” is also the stage for Shankar’s last composition, the opera Sukanya.
With Shankar’s 100-year anniversary celebration in 2020 fast approaching, The Royal Festival Hall and its fellows have issued a Call to Action asking visitors and admirers to showcase and share their own memories and mementos linked to Ravi Shankar’s music… we’ll be taking our #flashbacks to some Glastonbury sitar sessions, how about you?