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‘Jana Gana Mana’, ‘Om Jai Jagadish’ US singer Mary Millben to perform at India’s Independence Day

The African-American singer & cultural ambassador of US will perform at India's 75th year of Independence celebrations. She's the first American singer to be invited by the Indian govt.

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New Delhi: Mary Millben, an African American singer and cultural ambassador of the US will travel to India to take part in and perform at the 75th Independence Day celebration event on August 15.

The 40-year-old singer — well known for her powerful performances of ‘Om Jai Jagadish Hare’ and ‘Jana Gana Mana’ — is the first American and African American performer to be invited to India by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). According to the announcement, she will be a special guest representing the US.

She will be performing for an audience of 1.4 billion people.

“I am so excited to finally announce that I am coming to India in celebration of the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence Day…. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. took his first trip and pilgrimage to India in 1959. I am so excited to follow in his footsteps, taking my first pilgrimage to India,” Millben said in an announcement video.

In the video, Millben extends her warmth to the newly-elected Indian President Droupadi Murmu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Indian ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu, and to the Government of India.

Performing in India for the very first time, Millben will be visiting the country accompanied by Priya Samant, co-founder and CEO of NFT global company and a strategic advisor on US-India relations, and making an appearance at the Indiaspora Global Forum, to commemorate the nation’s 75th anniversary of Independence and Indiaspora’s 10th anniversary.

On the itinerary

The singer has been invited by Indiaspora Founder M.R. Rangaswami, to perform with international piano prodigy Lydian Nadhaswaram, a teenage musician from Chennai, Tamil Nadu, who won “The World’s Best” on CBS and a cash prize of $1 million.

Mary will kickstart the conference on 10 August by singing India’s national anthem, after which the two musicians will jointly perform the same evening.

This is not the first time Millben will be performing for India. In 2020, Millben’s virtual performance of the Indian national anthem on Independence Day had made waves. The performance was followed by an emotional rendition of ‘Om Jai Jagdish Hare’ for 2020 Diwali.

Because of her successful leadership in cultural diplomacy, interfaith dialogue, and advocacy for global inclusiveness, Mary has been formally recognised as a US State Department cultural envoy and is considered a cultural ambassador around the world. She is now a respected voice among global leaders because of her performances for international administrations.

A former White House Presidential Appointee to President George W. Bush, Millben has entertained worldwide royalty, world leaders, and three US presidents in a row — George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

“I love America and I deeply love India. I commit to continuing my role as a cultural ambassador between our two great countries upholding the flag of freedom and democracy,” said Millben, according to a press release.

The artist will be in Delhi from 9 to 16 August and will make additional appearances in Uttar Pradesh and Mumbai between 17 and 22 August.

(Edited by Zinnia Ray Chaudhuri)

Also read: Nehru present in future ‘Azadi Mahotsav’ posters, says ICHR after Congress slams ‘omission’


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