Local BBC Sites

Page last updated at 16:35 GMT, Wednesday, 26 January 2011
First Master of Beatles graduates
Mary-Lu Zahalan-Kennedy
Mary-Lu Zahalan-Kennedy received her degree at Liverpool Hope University

A woman from Canada has become the first person in the world to graduate with a Master's degree in The Beatles.

Mary-Lu Zahalan-Kennedy, a professor of popular music in Ontario, received her degree at Liverpool Hope University.

The Master Of Arts course, entitled The Beatles - Popular Music and Society, was launched by the University in 2009.

Students study how the band helped to define identities, culture and society, and the studio sound and composition of The Beatles music.

Ms Zahalan-Kennedy told BBC Radio Merseyside she rejects criticism that the Fab Four aren't a serious subject for academic research.

"Its absolutely academic. It was an examination of how The Beatles came to be. What the political and social climate was and the cultural aspects that helped to facilitate an environment where The Beatles' could happen.

"It was a lot of history. It was very much having to understand all of the history of British music, British politics and the economic state of the country at the time and what people where doing to stay positive and how music impacted on everyday life."

Mary-Lu moved to Liverpool for the course leaving behind her husband and two daughters in Canada. She says she was made to feel very welcome and fell in love with the city.

"It was a very difficult decision to leave my family and come and live here and it has been a wonderful place to live.

"I couldn't make out a word anyone was saying at first and then every time I'd just start to get used to an accent I'd meet someone with a different Liverpudlian accent!

"But the people were so generous and kind. I made some great friends while I was here and learned that I could do something that had seemed impossible."

Mary-Lu will return to her husband and two adult daughters in Canada and continue to teach Popular Music Studies in Ontario.




SEE ALSO
University offers Beatles Masters
03 Mar 09 |  Merseyside

OTHER RELATED BBC LINKS


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific