the Backroom

Happy 75th to George Harrison!

by Chris Murray on February 19, 2018  |  Leave a Comment »

This Sunday is George Harrison’s 75th birthday. The world is a better place with George having been born. He inspired so many people. Govinda Gallery has exhibited master photographs of George Harrison by Harry Benson, Barry Feinstein, Baron Wolman, Mark Seliger, Linda McCartney, David Kennerly, Michael Cooper, Henry Grossman, Jim Marshall, Jurgen Vollmer, Astrid Kirchherr and Max Scheler.

These two photos of George were taken by William Coupon in 1988 in Los Angeles for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. They are among my favorite portraits of George Harrison. Jai Sri Krishna!

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The Wailers and Tedeschi Trucks Band Get Heavy in Washington, D.C.

by Chris Murray on February 19, 2018  |  1 Comment »

Music’s ‘ground zero’ was in downtown Washington Saturday night, as The Wailers and Tedeschi Trucks Band were playing at the same time a block from each other, at Hamilton Live on 14th Street and at the Warner Theater on 13th Street. Such a powerful musical vibration had not aligned in such a spectacular way in many moons.

I attended The Wailers show, as I had never seen Junior Marvin perform with Donald Kinsey, two original guitarists from Bob Marley and the Wailers, and two of reggae music’s greatest riff masters. They were a super-duo of electric reggae that evening. Original Wailer Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett played bass and the spirit of Bob Marley was alive and well. Junior Marvin introduced me to Family Man backstage and we talked about our friend photographer Kate Simon, who photographed Bob Marley and the Wailers and whose image of Marley is on the cover of his Kaya album.

Junior Marvin, Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett and Chris Murray backstage at the Hamilton Live. Photograph by Carlotta Hester.

Enjoy this short clip of Donald Kinsey’s searing guitar break on Heathen and Junior Marvin performing I Shot the Sheriff.



Meanwhile, Tedeschi Trucks Band were blowing minds, by all accounts, with an epic version of Sly & the Family Stone’s I Want to Take You Higher that had the entire audience at the Warner Theater on their feet. I was fortunate to see Tedeschi Trucks Band at the Warner the weekend before, where their performance of Santana’s Soul Sacrifice had the same effect on the audience. Tedeschi Trucks Band may well be the best band performing today.

Tedeschi Trucks Band trumpet player extraordinaire Ephraim Owens with Govinda Gallery director Chris Murray backstage at the Warner Theater. Photograph by Carlotta Hester.


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Springsteen on Broadway, and Announcing David Gahr’s Photo Book on Bruce & the E Street Band

by Chris Murray on February 12, 2018  |  1 Comment »

Bruce Springsteen, along New Jersey shoretowns, 1973. © Estate of David Gahr.


Last month I went to see Springsteen on Broadway, one of the finest theatre performances I have seen in my lifetime. Springsteen not only entertained the audience in the most artful way, he also raised their consciousness.

Outside the Walter Kerr Theatre on W 48th St.

Art collector Michael Meyer and Paula Edwards on Broadway. I was Michael Meyer’s guest for Bruce on Broadway.

MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle, who joined us for the Bruce on Broadway show.

I am looking forward to the April 10th release of Bruce Springsteen: From Asbury Park, to Born to Run, to Born in the USA (Rizzoli 2018). This is the first book of David Gahr’s extraordinary pictures of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Gahr, who is known as the “Godfather” of music photography, photographed Springsteen and the band from the early days in 1973 to 1986. David Gahr passed on in 2008. It is my great honor to be the co-author of this book and to be working with the Estate of David Gahr. The book also features a terrific Foreword by Maureen Orth.

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, New Jersey, 1973. © The Estate of David Gahr.

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Giants Stadium, 1986. © The Estate of David Gahr.

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Kara Kennedy, NRBQ and Hamilton Live

by Chris Murray on February 5, 2018  |  Leave a Comment »

A great gig and a great brunch can be had Sunday, February 25th, at Hamilton Live, and all for a good cause, The Kara Kennedy Fund, in support of Horizons Greater Washington and its “academic, cultural and recreational programs, designed to empower economically disadvantaged students to realize their full potential.”

Kara Kennedy was a good friend of mine and of Govinda Gallery and she loved music, so celebrating her mission to support programs like Horizons Greater Washington with NRBQ is a great way to go. NRBQ (New Rhythm & Blues Quartet) are known for their terrific live shows combining rock, pop, jazz & blues. Here is a link to details for the show and brunch.

Linda Semans, John Jacobsen and Kara Kennedy at Govinda Gallery’s 25th anniversary celebration at Halcyon House. Photo courtesy of Washington Life.

Kara Kennedy with Govinda Gallery artist Carlotta Hester. Photo courtesy of Washington Life.

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Tom Meyer, the National Gallery of Art and “Modern Primitives”

by Chris Murray on February 5, 2018  |  1 Comment »

Addison/Ripley Fine Art, in association with Govinda Gallery, is presenting the first exhibition of Tom Meyer’s remarkable paintings.

Artist Tom Meyer painting in his studio. Photograph by Chris Murray.

A self-taught artist, Meyer’s exhibition, Narrative Visions, happens to coincide with the National Gallery of Art’s first ‘Outsider’ exhibition, Outliers and American Vanguard Art. Both are must-see exhibitions.

The NGA has published an extraordinary catalogue for their exhibition. The exhibition, conceived of and curated by Lynne Cooke, “brings to light suppressed and forgotten creators, artworks, and histories,” as declared by NGA Director Rusty Powell in the catalogue’s foreword.

New York’s Museum of Modern Art founding director Alfred Barr viewed these “modern primitives” on par with the very best of modern art.

Here are a few more of Tom Meyer’s paintings that will be featured in the Addison/Ripley exhibition.

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Donovan’s ‘Hurdy Gurdy Man’ is the Theme Song for Sky TV’s Series ‘Britannia’

by Chris Murray on January 29, 2018  |  1 Comment »

Donovan seems to be everywhere at the moment. Sky TV’s engaging new series Britannia is using Donovan’s “celtic rock” song, Hurdy Gurdy Man, as its musical theme for the series this year. Jimmy Page played the amazing guitar licks on Hurdy Gurdy Man. Here is the trailer for Britannia, with Donovan’s song. I’m psyched to see Britannia streaming on Amazon this week.

The February issue of Mojo magazine’s cover story is on The Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary of the album Their Satanic Majesties Request. In a sidebar in that cover story, Donovan tells the story of Detective Sergeant Norman Pilcher setting Donovan up, along with having set up George Harrison, John Lennon, Keith Richards, Brian Jones and Mick Jagger, among others, for fake cannabis busts. Donovan was the first victim of Pilcher. “He was collecting busts–and he was collecting headlines,” said Donovan. Pilcher was eventually exposed and put on trial at the Old Bailey, and was convicted of perjury and sentenced to four years.

This past weekend, Donovan was in Glasgow, where he was born, supporting The Ayrshire Rivers Trust to save The River Doon. Donovan put Robert Burns’ poem, The Banks o’ Doon, to a melody and recorded it. He performed at the Milngavie Folk Club to raise funds. The River Doon is in danger, as Scottish Power wants to divert water from the River Doon. The concerts and the recording are to raise funds for The Ayrshire Rivers Trust. The CD is available at

Last week, The Fairy Tales of Herman Hesse, read by Donovan, was released for the first time on CD. Donovan is a true poet of rock & roll.

The other night I was watching Grace & Frankie on Netflix. It was a kick seeing actors Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston talking about the “folk music cruise” they were going to take, and Sam Waterston saying, “We can’t miss Donovan and Joan Baez.”

Govinda Gallery has been pleased to represent the genius musical artist Donovan’s Sapphographs and has organized several exhibitions of these amazing works on paper.

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The Wailers in Washington with Junior Marvin, ‘Family Man,’ and Donald Kinsey

by Chris Murray on January 29, 2018  |  1 Comment »

What a night it will be with The Wailers at Hamilton Live on February 17th. Junior Marvin, who performed and recorded with Bob Marley since the Exodus album until his passing, is playing with The Wailers. Junior is one of the great guitarists of our time, and it is a rare opportunity to see him and The Wailers, simply the best Marley/reggae show anywhere.

Junior Marvin on guitar in concert with Bob Marley, Exodus Tour, 1977. Photograph by David Burnett.

Hamilton Live has an amazing portrait of Bob Marley on its walls as you enter the venue. That photo was taken by the “World Press Photo of the Year” photographer David Burnett, and is part of his book Soul Rebel: An Intimate Portrait of Bob Marley (Insight Editions). David Burnett’s photos of Bob Marley and the Wailers are available through Govinda Gallery.

Portrait of Bob Marley, Kingston, Jamaica, 1976. Photograph by David Burnett.

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Richard Evans Schultes Lost Amazon Exhibition at Claustro San Ignacio in Medellín

by Chris Murray on January 23, 2018  |  Comments Off on Richard Evans Schultes Lost Amazon Exhibition at Claustro San Ignacio in Medellín

Richard Evans Schultes, circa 1943, Colombia S.A.

Govinda Gallery held the first exhibition of Richard Evans Schultes’ remarkable photographs of the Amazon in the spring of 2006. That exhibition celebrated the publication of The Lost Amazon: The Photographic Journey of Richard Evans Schultes (Chronicle Books). I collaborated on that book with Wade Davis and edited the photos and wrote the afterword.

Caño Guacaya, Río Miritíparaná, April 1952. Photograph by Richard Evans Schultes.

I was very pleased when Parque Explora in Medellín, Colombia acquired a collection of Schultes’ photographs and exhibited them in December of 2010. Parque Explora has continued their wonderful program of exhibiting Schultes’ photos with an exhibition at Festival de Cine de Jardín, in Jardín Antioquia last summer, and now at an exhibition in Comfama Claustro San Ignacio, in Medellín. Congratulations to Parque Explora for bringing Schultes’ rare photos of the Amazon to so many people.

Claustro San Ignacio, Medellín.

The Lost Amazon has recently been republished in a new second edition with over 20 pages of new material (Earth Aware Editions).

Embrace of the Serpent has just been made available on DVD. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Picture in 2016, that film was based on the photographs and journey of Richard Evans Schultes, as well as an earlier explorer from the late 1800s named Theodor Koch-Grunberg.

Schultes’ photographs are available through Govinda Gallery.

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Happy Birthday Elvis!

by Chris Murray on January 8, 2018  |  1 Comment »

Elvis Reading Fan Mail. © Alfred Wertheimer.
Today is Elvis Presley’s birthday. This photo of Elvis was taken by the late, great Alfred Wertheimer in New York City at the Warwick Hotel in 1956, just a few weeks after Elvis’ 21st birthday.

elvis 1956 govinda gallery alfred werthemier

The cover of Elvis 1956, published on the occasion of the Smithsonian traveling exhibition Elvis at 21, co-organized by the National Portrait Gallery and Govinda Gallery.

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“Cuba es por Cultura.” Dance, Photography, Fashion and Music in Havana

by Chris Murray on November 30, 2017  |  4 Comments »

I went to Havana a couple of weeks ago to pick up Ted Russell’s photographs of Bob Dylan from the extraordinary exhibition earlier this year at Fototeca de Cuba, Cuba’s national photo gallery. As always seems to be the case, there were several compelling creative projects going on during my visit.

Gran Teatro de la Habana.

My first afternoon, I went by the Gran Teatro de la Habana and saw that the Festival Internacional de Danza Espanola y Flamenco was on. I purchased a ticket and that evening saw the Gala Flamenca, which blew my mind. What a treat to see 17 extraordinary flamenco dancers in such a stunning setting.

The next day, I went to Plaza Vieja to pick up the Dylan prints at Fototeca de Cuba. While at Fototeca de Cuba, I marveled at German photographer Katharina Sieverding’s exhibition, arte y capital, which was on display.

Plaza Vieja.

That evening was an exhibition launch at Galeria Francis Picabia at the Alianza Francesca de Cuba on Palacio de Prado of my friends, Liudmila & Nelson’s photography exhibition, La Habana y el Tiempo. I have shown Nelson and Liudmila’s photographs at Govinda Gallery, and it was a great pleasure to see my friends and their terrific exhibition.

Liudmila and Nelson at the opening of their show, La Habana y el Tiempo.

The next evening, I went to the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, which was hosting a runway show featuring original fashion by Latin American designers inspired by paintings and sculpture from the museum’s collection. It was another amazing display of Cuba’s thriving cultural scene. My friend Nelson Ramirez de Arellano Conde was on hand photographing the show, along with his daughter Sophia.

The crowd at Arte y Moda.

Cuban models on the runway at Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.

I had heard about the fashion show, and as the museum is right behind Parque Central hotel where I was staying, I went to see if I could attend the event. I was most fortunate to run into Jorge Rivas Rodriguez, a prominent arts & theatre critic in Havana, who invited me to join him. I was able to sit in the front row with the esteemed writer.

Writer & art critic, Jorge Rivas Rodriguez.

On Saturday morning, I took a car to visit my dear friend, photographer Roberto Salas. Roberto is one of the most highly regarded photographers in modern Cuban photographic history. He was one of the five or six “epic photographers” who documented the Cuban revolution. Roberto had a critically acclaimed, one-person exhibition of his photographs at Govinda Gallery in 2003. It is always a great pleasure to sit with Roberto in his home and enjoy his company.

Chris Murray with photographer Roberto Salas in Miramar.

Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, Havana, 1959. Photograph by Roberto Salas.

My last magical evening in Cuba this visit, I was invited to a very special program at Havana’s dynamic rock club, Submarino Amarillo, just across the street from the John Lennon Park. Cuba’s classical piano maestro and legend, Frank Fernandez, was performing at the intimate venue with a rock & roll band for the first time. Everyone in Havana interested in music was talking about the collaboration. I was so fortunate to have my friend, Guille Villar, the number one advocate for great rock music in Cuba, to invite me to the event. I was honored to be able to attend such a special gig. Thank you, Guille.

Chris Murray with pianist Frank Fernandez backstage after his performance at Submarino Amarillo.

Maestro Frank Fernandez first played a solo program of classical music, and then was joined by the Sweet Lizzie Project. The packed crowd, with standing room only, loved the gig. What a great night in Havana!

All photos and video by Chris Murray.

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