With a heady mix of old and new generation songs, Sangeetha Arts Club, Cologne, is creating waves abroad. Germany-based Jonny Chakupurakal and his band have just finished the 450th Gandharva Sandhya performance in Europe. The band has performed in Switzerland, Austria, and many places in Germany.
Jonny, who started the club in 1980, says, “The music brings homely feelings to the Indian audience thanks to the melodious tunes. It also helps to forget their everyday worries for a few hours”. The club plays songs in Malayalam, Tamil and Hindi.
There are around 20 members in his troupe. The majority do not take any remuneration for their participation. The only expense for Johnny is to make arrangements for their travel.
Gandharva Sandhya is a fusion of evergreen songs of yesteryears and today. Along with the musical programme, he also conducts a dance section. Though initially only the Non-Resident Keralites participated in the stage shows, now the Indians from other states too are active members. “The audience now include the Indians in Germany as well as the Germans,” says Jonny.
Recently, legend K J Yesudas honoured him for his efforts to bring Indian music to European audiences. Jonny has five albums to his credit.
The recognitions conferred on him include the Tamil Kala Kendra award, Rasmi magazine prize and Euro-american Organisation for Music’s award. Jonny’s older son, Bobby Chakupurakal and his wife Remona are famous pop singers in Germany.
Jonny is training three generations of people free of cost as part of his desire to spread the joy of music.