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Bringing Gujarati Strains To German Musicals

| Updated: November 22, 2021 12:32

A clinical educator by day and a performing artiste by night, Hardik Chauhan feels blessed to be able to continue both his passions, a rare feat for most of us.

He migrated to Jena, Germany, from Ahmedabad to pursue a medical engineering career, but found he could not leave music behind. Chauhan has gained some fame in the country by performing folk songs with the choir group, Collegium Vocale – Studierendenchor der FSU Jena, Germany.

After being at home for two years due to the pandemic, when the lockdown was lifted in Germany, Chauhan wanted to perform again. He had already performed in one musical that was entirely in German. However, he decided to join a choir group despite getting many offers for acting jobs as he was more inclined towards singing.

The choir primarily performs at private concerts, many of these in churches. The two folk songs that Chauhan sings are Mor Bani Thangath Kare and Sapna Vinani Raat.

How did the Gujarati tunes find their way into an all-German choir’s repertoire? “The choir mostly performs Western Classical music; all members are academically trained in music. I felt stranded since I am not,” recalls Chauhan, “One day, they asked me to sing in Gujarati. My German friends in the choir were more excited about my performance than I was! And then they learnt the verses of the songs.”

“The audience is very accepting of an art from a different land, especially students,” says Chauhan. 

Chauhan’s father Kamlesh, a music teacher by profession, has been his guru. In college, Chauhan participated in street plays and bhavaai at the Darpana School of Arts.

His decision to immigrate to Germany did not involve anything to do with music. “I landed in Germany in March 2016 and auditioned for a musical named ‘Spring Awakening’ at the German National Theatre in September 2016,” he says, “I enjoy musicals, since these combine a number of art forms, which is what we do in bhavaai.”

“I was not proficient in German, but I still went to audition for the musical and had no expectations. I was there with my guitar to savour the moment. I still remember that I wanted to perform one German song that I knew,” smiles Chauhan. His musicality won over the judges at the audition, and he was selected for the musical. There has been no looking back.

“Music and biomedical engineering have always been interlinked in my life. I am on constant exploration and somehow, the universe seems to abide by what I want. I am very lucky in that sense,” states the young artiste.

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