The German Ambassador to India, Walter J Lindner, has recreated the iconic song Winds of Change, in collaboration with Indian musicians, to celebrate 30 years of the German Reunification.
The German reunification, in 1990, was one of the most significant conclusion to the end of a forty-year-long cold war between US and Soviet Union (USSR). The breaking down of the wall, dividing the city (now Capital of Germany) of Berlin, ushered in a new era, giving hope to many about the onset of a new world order which would based on the principles of equality, freedom and peace.
“And if ever, there was a song that symbolised this change, it was Winds of Change by the German rock band, Scorpions,” says the German Ambassador to India, Walter J Lindner, who has recreated the iconic “rock song with Indian elements”, to celebrate 30 years of this historic day, which is celebrated as the German Unity Day, every year..
“This songs was created for the unification. The whole situation at that time, for example, there was [Nelson] Mandela who was talking about liberation, and ending the apartheid. Here in Germany as well and the whole Cold War ending, symbolised freedom and gave everyone a hope that things will change for the better, and for the ‘children of tomorrow’ and for young people like me, there’s going to be freedom and more importantly peace in the world,” says Lindner adding that he was posted in Berlin, as he started out his career as a diplomat, and recalls what the song meant to him, and possibly to the rest of the world at that time.
“I was at the beginning of my diplomatic career. I was still in Berlin, which was still divided, when it [the song] released. Winds of Change inspired a whole generation. If you see the original video, the tearing down of the wall, the movement of the Soviet soldiers, it was like a blast that went through the whole world. It gave every one a hope, and idea of freedom, at least for a decade, at least before the terrorist attack in US in 2001. Around the globe there were these winds of change blowing and the song symbolised it,” adds Lindner, who insists he still is a musician “first” and a “politician” later.
“I always believe that, you can give hundreds of speeches, but the real connection you have with people is through sports and music. I started as an artiste, a musician. I became a diplomat and lawyer, later to earn money. At any time in my life, first I am a musician,” he says, adding, “Maybe it’s a good combination. It [Being a diplomat] takes away the necessity to live for music. I can dedicate my free time to music, and be my authentic self.”
It, therefore, makes complete sense that a song with such iconic message was recreated, and being an Ambassador to India, the German national felt it was imperative, to borrow from the “vast musical heritage” of India. The iconic opening of the song, which opens with the band’s vocalist, Klaus Meine, whistling has been replaced by a flute, played by Rakesh Chaurasia
Also, the iconic guitar solo, has been divided into four parts, with solos from instruments such as sarod (played by Pandit Vikash Maharaj), tabla (played by Prabhash Maharaj), sitar (played by Abhishek Maharaj) and a flute.
“I didn’t want to make a replica. I had to play with Indian musicians. I already had that in my head that i wanted to create a German-Indian rock song. This song, this since its a rock song, was primarily on the electric guitar. We had to rule that out because it would have overshadowed the Indian instruments. So we got more musicians, and other Indian instruments, on the song,” says Lindner, who adds Klaus Meine, only decided to appear at the start of the video, after he heard the song. “He told me he had goosebumps. I met him in Berlin and that’s when he told me he would love to introduce the song. I think even in Germany, this song will generate good interest because it is a very different and a different sounding version,” he says.
The song, as Lindner says, “is still relevant”, and hopes that it will promote the message that the original version has done so over the last 30 years. “Life without art is nothing, there’s no colour. This song contains dreams, and they can be anything. As long as you live, you hope that the world is a better place, for everyone who is born here and lives. That’s the real message and the entire concept, and I hope that this German-Indian rock song promotes that feeling,” he signs off.
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