Unforgettable Live Performances: The Concert for Bangladesh

George Harrison´s two benefit concerts to raise awareness and fund refugees from East Pakistan in 1972.

With the current refugee situation in the world, and numbers scaling up  and given the fact that Colombia is the one of the countries with most displaced population in the world it is impossible for us here at MVD not to think about this and feel for the world and wonder how the situation can be helped. Sadly, it is not the first time the world has faced an increase of violence and refugees in the world. Back in 1971 there was a war in Bangladesh and a genocide.

Ravi Shankar, an Indian musician who helped make classical Indian music poplar in the west, and who via The Byrds got Beatle (and favorite human being nominee George Harrison) hooked on Indian classical music, the sitar which lead to one of the greatest songs ever written. Anyway, out of that friendship the idea to have two benefit concerts to help the refugees sprung, and the concert was born.

UNICEF USA: Ravi Shankar and the Concert for Bangladesh

In two weeks George had assemble his friends and managed to raise not only money but what he wanted: awareness for the situation and those in need.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps – George Harrison & Eric Clapton – The Concert For Bangladesh 1971

Granted, we could also do a soundtrack post on the concert movie, or the album as such but it is without a doubt an unforgettable live performance. The first ever benefit concert of that size, it took place in New York at Madison Square Garden  with two concerts, one at 2:30 p.m. and a second one at 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 1, 1971. to a crowd of 40.000 people who got to see:

. Ringo Star

. Bob Dylan

. Eric Clapton

. Billy Preston

. Leon Russell and the band Badfinger

Just Like A Woman – Bob Dylan – The Concert For Bangladesh 1971

The concert also includes virtuoso’s Ravi Shankar and Ali_Akbar_Khan playing Indian Classical Music to the crowns silent, respectful awe. The concert raised almost 250.000 and by 1985 earnings from the movie and album had raised over 12 million dollars.

The concert for Bangladesh is considered by many to be the first event of its nature. A successful humanitarian aid project and pioneered the projects that followed, like Live Aid and Farm Aid.

My Sweet Lord – George Harrison – Concert for Bangladesh

 The concert, the movie, the album and the idea are all earth changing events. Artists coming together to use their talent and influence in the best way possible. The performances were great, the crown respectful, the objective achieved.  Today I wonder if artists besides Bansky, Ai Wei ie and Anish Kappor and some actors who lend their public persona to different charities will step up. Will there be musicians donating funds? Raising awareness?  As the optimist I am I hope so. It is at moments like this one when George and John are most missed.

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