On the origin of Dhun by means of fusing Eastern and Western musical ideas

Subhendu Ghosh, biohysicist and known Indian musician, visited Dresden in 2010 – 2011. His presence and spirit became the trigger for inspiring theoretical investigations but also practical musical experiments targeted at universal musical patterns. An intriguing example is flamenco – this “Spanish“ music bears similarities with Indian ragas. Not surprising since between 800 and 900 A.D groups of nomadic people from the north-western regions of india moved to Spain and then – in Andalusia – they influenced the style of flamenco by adding their own dance and singing style to it.

It started as Oriental Music Project, explorations and experiments. Initially, a bass, a guitar, a saxophone, and a violin player (bloody amateurs till semi-professionals) started to meet with Subhendu for rehearsals in the cellar of an old office building. We introduced each other our favourite melodies and rhythms from the never-ending sources of jazz standards, folk music, Western classic and ragas. Without any reservations, we started to mix them melting scales, rhythms and instruments from Europe and India. The musical results sounded at least “interesting“ – Subhendu’s voice typically being the most reliable fundament. It was a lot of fun but also sweaty – confronting each member with the limitations and possibilities of the individual instrument.

After only half a year of at most weekly practice we were invited to our first performance in Gohla (close to Meissen) with the goal to please a kindergarten excursion on a sunny Saturday afternoon at a farm for therapeutic horse-riding. This was exciting since we had never really thought about a real program before. But you grow with the challenge and we accepted the invitation. What shall one say? At least, nobody seemed to be hurt by the performance and we were very very proud of it. After a Bratwurst and a beer we became reckless and named us “Dhun“ (literally “tune”). So Gohla was the birthplace of the Dhun project. Since then ideas have not trickled away – just the opposite.

We continue our experiments, we have added instruments and new inspiring people (sitar, tabla, flute). Various performances followed (Weinböhla, Meissen, Dresden Blaue Fabrik, Dresden Cricket Club, Dresden Jaipur restaurant). A special concert with further musicians in 2011 at Dresden Technical University had been devoted to the 150th anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore (the first Nobel Laureate from Asia). Musicians changed but the idea of fusing rhythms, scales and melodies from all over the world has stayed.