Lata Mangeshkar: First Indian to perform at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 1974

Updated - February 06, 2022 10:38 pm IST

Published - February 06, 2022 10:36 pm IST - London

Lata Mangeshkar

Lata Mangeshkar

Lata Mangeshkar, known as the Nightingale of India, holds the distinction of being the first Indian artist ever to perform live at London’s iconic Royal Albert Hall.

The legendary singer, who passed away aged 92 in Mumbai on Sunday, chose the UK venue for her debut on the international stage in 1974 where she performed some of her most loved melodies to a packed audience.

“This is my first concert outside India. I was quite nervous, but I am grateful for the warm reception,” she said in her brief speech in Hindi.

During the course of the show, she shared her memories of singing with her Bollywood contemporaries, such as Kishore Kumar and Hemant Kumar, and performing with leading musicians, such as S.D. Burman and Naushad. She displayed a quirky sense of humour as she shared anecdotes with the audience.

The sell-out concert was introduced by actor Dilip Kumar, whom she referred to as her brother “Yusuf Bhai”.

“Just as the fragrance of a flower has no colour, just as flowing water or the breeze have no boundaries, and just as the rays of the sun have no religious divide, the voice of Lata Mangeshkar is just such a miracle of nature,” said Kumar, or Yusuf Khan, in his famous introductory speech in Urdu, before he encouraged the audience to welcome the singer on stage with resounding applause.

The concert, which remains one of the late singer’s rare performances with a live orchestra, was organised in aid of the Nehru Memorial Fund, set up to bestow fellowships in memory of India’s first Prime Minister.

The show covered Mangeshkar's biggest Bollywood hits over the decades, including ‘Aaja Re Pardesi’ from ‘Madhumati’, ‘Inhin Logon Ne’ from ‘Pakeezah’ and ‘Aayega Aanewala’ from ‘Mahal’.

The recording from the live show, set in two volumes of long-playing records (LPs), went on to sell more than 133,000 copies.

Royal Albert Hall, inaugurated in 1871 by Queen Victoria in memory of her late husband Prince Albert, is one of the UK's premier concert venues which has played host to world-famous artists over the years. It forms part of Albert Memorial at Kensington Gardens in central London and also hosts important sporting events and award ceremonies.

"The world’s leading figures in music, dance, sport and politics have appeared on our stage since we opened in 1871, and now over 1.7 million people enjoy live experiences here every year, with millions more experiencing our events through broadcasts, recordings and new media channels," according to the website of the Royal Albert Hall.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.