Concert recognises and acknowledges contribution of the four unnamed Indian musicians who played on George Harrison’s landmark composition for the Sgt Pepper album and impact of Indian music on The Beatles

Two surviving Indian musicians from original Sgt Pepper recording set to perform in the concert alongside ensemble of other outstanding musicians

Surviving Indian musicians tracked down by Dr. Mike Jones of the University of Liverpool and John Ball, renowned tabla and santoor player

Concert marks part of Liverpool Philharmonic’s contribution to 50th anniversary of release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

This unique, biographical performance explores George Harrison’s discovery of Indian music and spiritual thought, the profound effect it had on him and the unique impact it had on The Beatles.

It introduces musicians that were part of a Beatles story that has never fully been told, aiming to recognise and acknowledge their contribution in helping to create the iconic Beatles album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Those musicians are the late Anna Joshi and Amrit Gajjar (dilruba); and Sikh temple musician Buddhadev Kansara (tamboura) and Natwar Soni (tabla), the last two surviving musicians, who with their late colleagues, performed on George Harrison's landmark composition, ‘Within You, Without You’ on the Sgt. Pepper's album.

Both Kansara and Soni, now in their 80s, will perform in this concert at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, alongside a hand-picked Liverpool-based rock band led by Thomas McConnell, together with an ensemble of outstanding Indian classical music exponents led by Jasdeep Singh Degun (sitar) with Kirpal Singh, Pirashanna Thevarajah and Gurdain Rayatt.

Together, they’ll perform Beatles’ classics including ‘Within You, Without You’, ‘Help’ and ‘Norwegian Wood’ along with other songs from the Revolver and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band era.

With some surprises too, including an instrument played on Sgt. Pepper, rare images and new stories from the recording session, from George's encounter with Indian music and with Ravi Shankar, this concert paints a whole new picture of the ‘quiet’ Beatle, the significance of Indian music to George and how his experience infused The Beatles with new ideas and fresh inspiration.

On researching the influence of Indian music on George Harrison and The Beatles, Dr Mike Jones from University of Liverpool’s Department of Music said: ‘My colleague and collaborator John Ball and I were approached by Utkarsha Joshi, son of the late Anna Joshi, who played dilruba for George Harrison on the ‘Within You, Without You’ recording session for Sgt. Pepper at Abbey Road Studios in 1967. ‘We discussed that the four Indian musicians who played on George Harrison’s track, including his father, have been regarded as 'unknown musicians' for 50 years.

‘The musicians in the concert will explore the influence of Indian classical music on The Beatles and, remarkably, will be joined by two musicians, Buddhadev Kansara and Natwar Soni, now both in their 80s, who were there 50 years ago today!

‘It’s a one-off opportunity to recognise and celebrate their contribution to what is arguably the Beatles most famous album.’

 

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