beatles, george harrison

A rambling homage to George Harrison

Not trying to be overly sappy or anything, but I can honestly say that George Harrison changed my life.

In 8th grade, I had been taking piano lessons for 6 years and played clarinet in middle school band, but music wasn’t really that big a part of my life. It was more of an extracurricular “on the side” sort of thing, and I never devoted that much time to it. But then one day my mom brought home the movie A Hard Day’s Night…and that changed everything. I fell absolutely IN LOVE with the Beatles. The Beatles made me want to learn music: I sat on my bed every night learning various riffs and chords (on a guitar that was very generously gifted to me), saved up and bought CDs until I had the entire Beatles discography, and even more nerdy: bought records that I gleefully listened to out in the garage on my dad’s dusty turntable, finally understanding what it was like to love music.

From the beginning, George was my favorite. He was definitely the one I could relate to most (shout out to quiet awkward people!), and his curiosity for new kinds of music and cultures is what got me so into ethnomusicology. It’s because of him that, 6 years later, I made the impulsive decision to walk into sitar class one morning at UCLA (instead of getting intimidated and turning around, which I almost did). And as a result I fell headfirst into Hindustani music, engulfed by that same sense of obsession that 8th Grade Nikki experienced with the Beatles, spending hours sitting with my teacher, trying to understand this whole new world of music. That’s how I got into tabla, that’s how I met Alex, and that’s how I ended up in Taiwan and India getting to perform with some of the most renowned musicians in modern Indian music. I feel incredibly lucky to have gone down the path I did, and it’s largely thanks to the influence of this guy:

 

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There are so many quirks that I love about George: his penchant for taking pictures, his obsession with ukuleles, the fact that he loved gardening. He was a pretty unconventional rockstar, and I love that about him.

I’ll round off my George ramble with, appropriately, some music. I only recently discovered this song, and I can’t stop listening to it:

Happy 70th birthday, George. Thanks for being amazing.
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