Sandra Schurzmann laughs when asked why the music troupe she is a part of is named after a popular Bavarian dessert - Bayerische Creme (Bavarian Cream). “My friends Guenter Ebel, Elvira Seeleitner and Monika Eisner were debating on a name for our troupe when the name Bayerische Creme came up. We felt it suited our band, and our kind of music, to a T. Bavarian Cream is a traditional, light and fun dessert, just like our music.”
The 10-year old music group was started by Guenter as he wanted to popularise traditional Bavarian music and also musical instruments such as the hackbrett and zither to the public. “Although our music is mostly traditional, we do play a bit of classical Western music, jazz, and the blues with these instruments. We want to show the audience that instruments like the hackbrett and zither are not just limited to playing traditional music,” says Guenter, a music professor at the University of Munich.
Bavarian music, according to the group, although not popular in the cities, is still played in the villages. “The Bavarian people are a musical lot. Most families in the villages get together in the evenings in their households to play music,” says Monika. The group often partakes in various concerts and play at family gatherings, weddings, baptisms and religious ceremonies. “Bavarian music is especially popular during Christmas. In fact, our audience often remarks how our music reminds them of Christmas,” she adds.
The group has released an album titled ‘Between Folk Music and Classic’ in 2010. “There is a recipe of Bavarian Cream printed inside the CD cover. The album is dedicated to traditional Bavarian music,” smiles Elvira. Guenter adds: “We are currently working on our second album. The music will hopefully feature more modern tunes.”
The troupe from the Alpine regions of Bavaria say they found the climate in the city rather humid when they landed. “The lush greenery and the waves of the sea helped us forget the heat though. The greenery and the sound of the waves are inspiring as we work on new numbers. We did however shop to suit the climate. We love how colourful Indian outfits are. We are also enjoying the local cuisine,” says Sandra.
The group is in the city for a concert organised by Goethe Zentrum Trivandrum on April 19. The members of the group are currently teaching the participants of the summer camp of the German centre a bit about Bavarian culture. “We are holding demonstrations in Bavarian music and also Schuhplatter, a traditional folk dance in Baveria. Children can try playing on the instruments we have brought down as part of the concert: zither, hackbrett, recorder... Although ours is a music band, we will be demonstrating Schuhplatter at the concert on Saturday. Guenter will be dressed in the traditional lederhosen and we women in dirndls. In the early days, Schuhplatter was considered a courting dance as men impressed ladies with their dancing prowess. The trousers the men wear are made out of leather and hence when they rhythmically strike their thighs and knees, it makes a sound. They also strike their soles, clap their hands and stamp their feet in accordance to the music. We will also be singing one or two Bavarian love songs,” says Elvira.