Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bhangra in Hackney

Well... when you get a chance to see a musical with a title like "Britain's Got Bhangra", why not do it?!   OK.  I will admit that I had no idea what Bhangra was (which is maybe a terrible admission to make, but...).  I was not sure if it was a medical condition, or an animal species.  A quick trip to the internet got me sorted out, so I could tell the kids in advance that bhangra is a style of music and dance with its roots (haha... pardon the pun) in Punjab harvest festival celebrations.  You can check out the history of Bhangra here:

Before we headed off to the theatre, I would have said I didn't know Bhangra.  Now, I realize that I had more knowledge than I thought I did.  If you try to pull into your mind a dance scene for the Bollywood musical of your choice, you probably HAVE heard Bhangra!  :-)   Here is a clip from the show.  I gotta say, while I went in a bit skeptical, I came out with a huge grin on my face, several bhangra songs stuck in my head, and a powerful desire to dance!   A festival of colour, politics, humour, tragedy, and song.  Who could ask for more?  i would love to go again!

Hackney Empire Theatre
 Of course, the theatre itself was also a fabulous venue for the piece:  The Hackney Empire, built in 1901, and apparently the first theatre in London to have electric lights.  I didn't get a photo from inside, but someone on the web did.  It is a lush festival of red and gold, which was the perfect backdrop for the rich colours on stage. The theatre was recently renovated, and you can certainly tell.  Oh yes... just remembered that the very top of the roof has a dark circle, which has little lights sparkling in it.... it looks a bit like the night sky you would see in the planetarium.  Duncan said it was like the enchanted roof in Hogwarts (which shows you what the sky look like outside).  Either way, ... it was goregous.

...with a sunny day to enjoy

waiting for the train to hackney...

It was also an adventure to get to Hackney... our first time out that direction, which meant a ride not only on the tube, but also on the London Overground at Camden Town.  The only shock about it was how clean and quiet the overground train was compared to the London Underground!  :-)

St. Augustine's Tower in Hackney
 We hung out for a bit in Hackney after the musical was done... just long enough to wander past St. John's Church (which has some connection to the song "Amazing Grace"), and take a photo of St. Augustine's Tower (the oldest church building in Hackney... maybe 13th century?), partly to document the amazing clear blue sky we had today!

All in all, a fun day out.... and tomorrow is Rugby for both boys.  Not quite musical theatre, but it should be just as fun! :-)

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