Monthly Archives: December 2017

BeeGee Twins and Barry Gibb

BeeGees 1970

BeeGees 1977

I’d just arrived in Miami a month before the beginning of the 1978-79 winter season of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra as its newly appointed General Manager, and the local movers and shakers were determined that I got to know some of the leading lights among the orchestra supporters straightaway. As part of the meet-and-greet plan laid out for me, FPO president Bob Paul and his attentive German wife Christa invited me one day to join them at a cocktail party held in the spacious ocean-front residence of a Board member. Among the invitees of  some well-known citizens and luminaries were included the pop group BeeGees, whom I’d heard about while in New York, but only peripherally. They had just come to Florida from their Australian home and turned out to be a blast at the event.  Being a twin myself, I was happy to speak at length with group members Maurice, the guitarist, and his twin brother Robin, the singer-songwriter. For the record, the twins were born this day December 22 in 1949 in Douglas, Isle of Man, U.K., but unfortunately neither lived to a ripe old age – Maurice died of cardiac arrest in 2003 aged 53, followed by Robin in 2012 of colon and liver cancer aged 62.

On a happier note, co-founder, Barry (born 1 September 1946) was the musician and record producer of the group, which in 1960 moved to Redcliffe, Queensland, Australia. There it evolved into the BeeGees, which Barry formed into a successful rock act beginning in 1966 until the early 1970s, and then as prominent performers of the disco-music era in the late 1970s. Barry’s known for his high-pitched falsetto singing voice. Here’s a YouTube presentation of BeeGees’ singing Still Waters – that was twenty years ago in 1997!

For services to music, Gibb was made a CBE (Commander in the Order of the British Empire) at Buckingham Palace on May 27, 2004.

Afterword:
It turns out I was prophetic in remembering just a week ago one of my musical heroes without realizing that he would be knighted in England by Queen Elizabeth.
Thus, CNN (along with other news channels in the US and abroad) reported December 30, 2017 that BeeGees co-founder Barry Gibb has been awarded a knighthood by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth in her 2018 New Year Honors List.

It also noted that: Gibb, the 70s disco pioneer …..said he was “deeply honored, humbled, and very proud” to be recognized.

“This is a moment in life to be treasured and never forgotten. I want to acknowledge how responsible my brothers are for this honor. It is as much theirs as it is mine,” Gibb, 71, told the UK’s Press Association.

Dear Readers,
You number over 70,000 since January 2015, when I first began to put “some of my thoughts, written down” and posted them in the blogosphere. Since that time, many of you have urged me to seek support of my site and my writings by way of donations.

 My blog is about my life. It’s about what I’ve learned through the span of my life. It’s about things I love, and things I know and things I have experienced. I am humbled that so many of you want to join with me in my reflections. If you like what you find here, if it inspires or informs or amuses you, then I am content.  
It would mean a lot to me if you would please consider making a donation of US $1.00, $5.00, $10.00, or whatever amount you deem fit to sustain my work.
And thank you for being a regular reader of the Azim Mayadas Blog!
Copyright © 2017 Azim Lewis Mayadas

Hill Station to Hill Station

Himalayas at Dusk from MussooriePanoramic View of Mussoorie

What a difference sheer distance can make, when two locales, each over 6,000 feet high happen to be situated some 1500 miles apart! Intrigued? If so, read on.

I was born in an Indian hill station, Mussoorie, 6000-plus feet up in the North Indian foothills of the Himalayas (pictured above) and known for its natural beauty and waterfalls. Among them is my favorite, the Kempty Falls (the name probably derived from the English compound-word ‘camp-tea’!)
The Falls were developed as a tourist destination by a British officer namedJohn Mekinan, around 1835, and are situated on the hilly tracks of Uttarakhand 13 km from Mussoorie on the Chakrata Road: A stream of water running throughout the year starting from the southwest of village Banglow ki kandi moves northwest and falls from 4,500 ft. Splitting into five other cascades, the water falls a further 40 ft. The area around it is dominated by high mountain ranges at an altitude of 4500 feet.

Another favorite spot for me was Landour further up the hill from downtown Mussoorie as it is where St. Paul’s Church is situated and which I always visited over the years when holidaying in Dehra Dun with family members.

Not surprisingly I’ve always enjoyed the climate that enticing places like Mussoorie enjoy in the world – both close to home as well as those further afield, or more accurately in other countries. Mixed in with that climatic observation is the fact that in one of my earlier careers I was involved in the tea industry as the managing agency I worked for had as one of its many corporations the Assam Sawmills and Timber Co., which was the largest manufacturer of tea chests in the country. As a result, in my role  as a senior  company executive, I visited many tea gardens in Assam and  West Bengal in the Northeast, and Nilgiri in southern India, during which time I learned of another important source of black tea: the neighboring island of Ceylon – now known as Sri Lanka.

Came a time when a person whom I first met in New Delhi at a diplomatic party intrigued me with fascinating stories about his homeland – both about its ancient history as well as its modern day developments. I speak of the late Sir Richard Aluwihare, who was Ceylon’s distinguished ambassador to India during my three-year managerial stint in the Indian capital. I got to know him and his family well and it came to pass that one day out of the blue he invited me to his family estate in Matale for a holiday during which time I would have an opportunity of visiting not only neighboring tea gardens including famed Nuwara Eliya as also well-known archaeological sites in the northeast.  I accepted his kind invitation with alacrity, and not many months later I found myself in Colombo, the capital, en route to Matale and other destinations in the hinterland for a glorious fortnight’s respite away from the enervating heat of  summer in my homeland.
                                                        Aluwihares at their home in Matale EstateAfter Matale, I went by bus to the uplands and via Kandy for a busy round of visiting tea gardens  in the vicinity of Nuwara EliyaI’m an avid golfing fan, although I do not play the game.

So in my itinerary I included the famed NE Golf Club dating back to 1889 and set in a part of the island known as “Little England.” The course is located at an altitude of 6,000 ft above sea level: It is an 18 hole, 6,070 yd, Par 70 layout.

The area is also not far from four water
falls. I managed to get to one of them, Devon Falls, before heading north to Anuradhapura for an unforgettable viewing of ancient sculptures – one of Lord Buddha in the ‘lotus’ posture, another of the divinity reclining – and a magnificent Stupa.

On the return trip I spent a couple of days in Columbo and met up with Mrs. D’Silva, the Aluwihare’s daughter, whom I snapped with my Leica camera in her drawing room.

She was an accomplished pianist trained at the Julliard School of Music in New York City. We therefore had a lot to talk about the idiosyncrasies of our favorite composers and specifically about the interpretation of their well-known piano pieces.

Afterword: Nuwara Eliya, which – from a climatic point of view – bears  comparison with the lower heights of the Himalaya, has the peculiar advantage of possessing a spacious plain intersected by a running brook of pure water; whereas the convalescent hill stations of Missouri and Simla consist of abrupt ridges with scarcely a vestige of table land on which to build or plant.

References: Wikipedia, My Diary & Photo Albums

Dear Readers,
You number over 70,000 since January 2015, when I first began to put “some of my thoughts, written down” and posted them in the blogosphere. Since that time, many of you have urged me to seek support of my site and my writings by way of donations.

 My blog is about my life. It’s about what I’ve learned through the span of my life. It’s about things I love, and things I know and things I have experienced. I am humbled that so many of you want to join with me in my reflections. If you like what you find here, if it inspires or informs or amuses you, then I am content.  
It would mean a lot to me if you would please consider making a donation of US $1.00, $5.00, $10.00, or whatever amount you deem fit to sustain my work.

And thank you for being a regular reader of the Azim Mayadas Blog!

 

Copyright © 2017 Azim Lewis Mayadas