60 second interview with: Arun Ghosh

Each week we will be posting exclusive 60 second interviews with our 2018 Festival bands and artists. This week we are in conversation with Arun Ghosh, to find out when Arun Ghosh is playing mjf 2018 click here. 


Where are you/the band from? Manchester and London


How did you get into music?

I’ve always loved music, and have been involved with it since I was 7. Like a lot of kids, I played the recorder at school…but I got pretty full on about it; I played it all the time, took it everywhere, and found that I could play by ear, improvise, play songs I liked and make up my own tunes. I could lose myself. I realised that I loved playing music for the people around me. That’s what I still do after all these years.

*Why did you form the band?

I put this music together to express myself, represent myself, show who I am. The music comes from everything I’ve grown up around; indie, dub, jungle, rave…and of course JAZZ. South-Asian music, World music, the blues. Classical music. New Orleans, Balkan style…know what I mean?

“All those are just labels; we all know that music is music.”

And so that’s what I’ve been composing, performing, recording these years. And I’ve brought together a multi-generational, multi-cultural crack team of fantastic musicians to do it. Men and women from all different musical traditions…., a new generation of musicians like Marli Wren (bass) and Chelsea Carmichael (tenor sax) both originally from Manchester. Then there’s Northern drum legend Dave Walsh, we’ve played together since 2002! They all know what I’m looking for, know how to play my music, they can make the grooves and my melodies make sense, they breathe life into it. It’s a joy to play together.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of being a musician? 

Being on stage and playing, improvising and freewheeling, getting into a heightened state through sound and energy. That’s what it’s all about. And I love those moments when I’m alone too, practising, composing, working things out…and sometimes, just sometimes, every now and then, those magical moments wherever you are, whoever you’re with, when something passes through you, and you’re at one with a higher consciousness, in communication with the Universe.

Who is your favourite band or artist?

Nina Simone. She’s the greatest, she’s timeless, the ultimate. A true communicator with her voice, instrument and spirit. She embodies everything that I believe is true, real and other-worldly. I could aim towards her and what she is, and accept that I couldn’t get near.

What’s the best piece of musical advice you’ve ever been given?

Mike Hall, a great jazz educator who I had lessons with at the RNCM. He told me to start composing my own music; that’s how I would understand what jazz meant to me, and what I wanted to communicate. I took that advice right away, and kept on writing.

What does it mean to you to play at manchester jazz festival?

Manchester is my musical, cultural and spiritual HOME, and so it means a huge amount to me to come and play at manchester jazz festival. We’ll be playing stuff from my first album, Northern Namaste and my new album, but where are you really from? ; this is music that grew out of me, and my relationship to Manchester, and so it will be amazing to play it with the new line-up, in Albert Square, right in the heart of the city.

What advice would you give to the new generation of musicians that would like to follow in your steps?

I’d say keep out out of my way, I’m not dead yet.

To be honest, there’s an amazing new generation of musicians, doing fantastic things, making great things happen; they don’t need any advice from me!

Other than yourself, who are you looking forward to seeing at mjf 2018?

I think I’m looking forward to hearing Ashley Henry play for the first time, to hear his playing and see how the trio interacts, what they’re saying.

Would you like to add anything?

Thank you mjf for hosting us; Manchester, COME ON DOWN to Salon Perdu, it’s gonna be an amazing gig, a fresh line-up, special vibes, don’t miss it!

For the full Festival Programme click here.