German envoy’s Wind of Change redux, with a little help from India
As diplomats grappled with Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns, German ambassador Walter Lindner was busy with a secret project to mark the 30th anniversary of Germany’s reunification on October 3 – a new version of the Scorpions song Wind Of Change recorded with Indian musicians.
Rolling Stone magazine, which described the song as “an anthem for the end of the Cold War” said the “song’s sentiments of hope and peace, ... (The world is closing in/Did you ever think/That we could be so close/Like brothers?),... and an accompanying video... that employed footage of the construction and tearing down of the Berlin Wall led to it being inextricably linked to the end of the Cold War.”
The track has been endorsed by Klaus Meine, the lead singer of Scorpions and one of the writers of the song that was a worldwide hit in 1991 in the times of perestroika and glasnost, and went on to sell 14 million copies. Lindner said Meine told him the new version gave him (Meine) goosebumps.
Lindner, an accomplished musician who plays instruments such as the guitar, piano and flute and has released several albums, said he opted to record an Indian version of Wind Of Change, an “unofficial anthem of freedom, hope and change”, to mark German Unity Day instead of organising a webinar or digital workshop. “On this historic day, German reunification was finalised. The Berlin Wall came down and the Cold War came to an end. Commemorating the 30th anniversary of German reunification at a time when we are facing the coronavirus pandemic presented its own challenge. We didn’t want just another webinar. We wanted a different, innovative approach,” he said.
ALSO WATCH | German Unity Day: Envoy Walter Lindner records new version of ‘Wind Of Change’
Technology played a key part in the venture – singer Chetan Dominic Awasthi recorded his vocals at home in Noida, sarod, tabla and sitar players Pandit Vikash Maharaj, Prabhash Maharaj and Abhishek Maharaj recorded their parts in Varanasi while drummer Peter Retzlaff sent in his part from New York – and the envoy put everything together in his well-equipped home studio. Besides the drums and the Indian instruments featured in the song, Lindner played all other instruments. The song also features on Lindner’s new CD , A Journey’s Songbook, which has several Indian musicians and is a mix of rock, soul, jazz and Indian music.
Lindner said he chose Wind Of Change because the song gives a “glimpse of hope – that there are better days, a better future is possible, that change is possible, be it from Covid or disasters in the world”.
The envoy spoke to Klaus Meine, whom he has since befriended, to get the rights for the song. Lindner said Meine told him an Indian version would be a “wonderful idea because the song is about building bridges across cultures”. The video for the track features footage of the Scorpions, and has an endorsement from Meine, who says: “Today, we’re building bridges across borders and cultures for a better and more peaceful world.”
Lindner said he hopes the people of India too will take away a message of hope. “If you’re in the corona situation and depressed, and at home and then you crave for getting out, look at this and get some ray of hope. Whatever changes you want in your life and in your surroundings, it can happen.”