Indo-German musicians get together for a cause

Just over 100 years ago a new form of gospel singing was introduced in Italian churches. A Capella, as the new style was called, was confined to devotional music. But slowly it caught up with all genres and today it is a popular form of contemporary music. But what differentiates it from all other forms is that in this no instruments are used. Vocalists sing and at the same time make sounds with their mouth which are musical and in complete sync with their singing, giving it a feel of an orchestra.

A popular German A Capella band, Wise Guys, on a short tour of India, performed in a unique jugalbandi with Maharaj, a trio of sarod player Pt Vikas Maharaj, and his sons Prabhash (tabla) and Abhishek (sitar). The three are descendants of famous Kishan Maharaj of the Benaras gharana.

Apart from their style, what made the group distinct was the fact that the band members – Daniel Dickopf, Edzard Hueneke, Mark Sahr, Andrea Figallo and Nils Olfert – were on a mission to raise funds for street children through a Delhi-based voluntary organisation Butterflies. The band is in contact with Butterflies for the last nine years. “We do it in Germany and we have done it in South Africa also and I am happy that we are in India now,” said Dickopf.

“We did not want to make music just for ourselves, we wanted to contribute socially. We approach people in Germany to contribute two Euros per month towards our charity, which is not a big amount, and for nine years we have been doing that. Right now we have about 20,000 people contributing to our fund every month,” Dickopf added.

Apart from charity for Butterfiles, ‘Wise Guys’ are also helping to keep the Ganga water clean. Interestingly Maharaj in turn raised charity for cleaning of river Rhine in Germany.

This novel Indo-German musical project has support from the German Embassy in India. The German Ambassador to India, Mr Michale Steiner hosted the two bands and children of Butterflies at his residence. There the Wise Guys showed a sample of their work in a jugalbandi with Maharaj, performing a new song from their album 'Two Worlds'

“Germany was known in India mainly for cars and punctuality. But the two countries also share a rich culture and music and this is Indo-German social and artistic commitment at its best,’’ said the German Ambassador, a Hindi films music buff.

Point taken Mr Steiner.