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Darjeeling hums Beatles tune

Paying tribute to Beatles, Hill musicians and afficionados come together to observe 50 years of the iconic quartet

kolkata Updated: Sep 03, 2012 15:56 IST

Along with the rest of the world, the Queen of the Hills also serenaded 50 years of the Fab Four. Hill musicians cutting across age, came together to strengthen their bond with the iconic band “Beatles.” It was also a sincere effort to revive the spirit of music that has helped this Hill town tide over many difficult times.

“On 18 August 1962 Ringo Starr made his first appearance as the Beatles official drummer at Hulme Hall in the village of Port Sunlight, Wirral. The four members of the band had a two hour rehearsal before taking to the stage as the headline act in the local Horticultural Society’s 17th annual dance. On that night the Fab Four was born... the rest is history,” states the recorded history of the Beatles. Darjeeling’s tryst with the Beatles is as old as the band itself.

“The Beatles Bond” a musical tribute to the legends was organised on Saturday night at the popular hangout Joey’s Pub in Darjeeling. Preserving the very essence of the Beatles, the acoustic tribute was simple yet melodious and touching. The singers belted out all time favourites — “Imagine,” “Yesterday, “Please Mr. Postman” “Hey Jude” “This Boy” “Nowhere Man,” leaving the crooning listeners asking for more.

A Beatle movie was screened followed by a Beatle quiz. Greg, a tourist from US, who managed to bag the most number of prizes in the quiz, said, “This is fantastic. It is like back home. I never expected Darjeeling to be so global.”

Reminiscing the good old days when Darjeeling was a musical Mecca, 65-year-old Puran Gongba, a veteran musician and owner of the Joey’s Pub, said, “Beatles is a cult band. In our time, the early 60s, anyone who could play a few chords would want to form a Beatles group. They would want to look like the Beatles, dress like the Beatles and sing like the Beatles. Though thousands of miles away, Darjeeling in spirit has always been one with the “Mersey” sound. British bands have had a strong influence on Darjeeling. We all have to work together to keep the undying musical spirit of Darjeeling alive, which like the Beatles is timeless and ageless.” The Pub still boats of the first publicity photograph of the Beatles.

A 4-member band “Hillians” was the path breaker to the Hills quest to form “Beatebands.” In the 60s they were popular as the “Sikkimese Beatles” — a name they had acquired owing to their performance at the Sikkim Chogyal’s (King’s) marriage ceremony. The Chogyal and his American bride Hope Cooke had twisted to the tunes of the Beatle hot favourite “I want to hold your hand” performed by the Hillians.

“My first introduction to music was the school choir. I was in the choir. However my love for music grew with the Beatles. Listening to Beatles as a young boy in the mid-60s, I wanted to become a part of music and build a career in music. The Beatles were utter geniuses. Their simplicity, their melody continues to inspire me,” said Anjan Dutta, singer and composer who had done his schooling in Darjeeling.

Time has had no effect on the Beatles and still continues to inspire even the new generation musicians. “Beatles is timeless. Any generation can relate to their evergreen songs. No other band has been celebrated so much as the Beatles,” said Lipok Jamir, a musician.

Deven Gurung who had a Beatle-band called the “Phoenix” in his school days, still finds solace in the Beatles. “There is simplicity in the lyrics and is yet apt for each and every occasion,” Gurung said.