Arun Ghosh is a jazz musician who plays the clarinet. I grew up in England but my family is from India originally. I started playing the recorder when I was a young boy and thereafter music basically became my life. I started playing the clarinet when I was 13 years old and the instrument just felt right in my fingers, I have never looked back after that.
Did you get formal schooling in music?
Yes I did. It started out with basic lessons on the clarinet and then I moved to the Royal Norton College of music in Manchester my hometown. While I was there I mostly learnt classical music but I always knew that I wanted to play Jazz. So I started to learn about Jazz and its history, listened to and learnt from famous records and also started to research about music from across the world which is what gave me the drive to compose and from my own band.
For how long have you been playing Jazz?
I have been playing the clarinet for 27 years now and I have been a professional since I was 21 years old. I formed my band about 9 years ago and we released the first album in 2008.
Other than the clarinet which other instrument can you play?
I use the piano a lot and I compose a lot of music while playing it. I also enjoy playing the guitar a lot but the clarinet still remains my one and only love. People ask me whether I play the saxophone because many clarinet players move to the saxophone especially with jazz but the clarinet works for me.
What has been the major influence in your development as a jazz musician?
I first saw Courtney Pine a young upcoming jazz musician from the Caribbean at the Free Nelson Mandela concert on television back in 1998 before he was released. He was playing the soprano saxophone and I just loved the music. At that point I was playing the recorder and I started to try playing like him. I began to research on jazz from around the world and when I started playing the clarinet I felt this even more.
How can you describe your music and what inspires it?
My music all about the emotion. The melody communicates how I feel about life, sometimes I feel excited, sometimes its passionate, somber, thoughtful basically all the different emotions that we feel I try to put them in the music.
The love of music basically inspires my music. I have always known that I love the rhythm and melody, I love the way that music feels when people hear it. The joy that it brings to the society and I feel that it is an important way for people to communicate to each other and express how we feel about the world. Music from around the world inspires me because I always enjoy the fact that people can connect to each other through music.
As a professional musician, I have a family to support and that drives me to work harder and keep on trying to find new opportunities to work.
We hear that you are working with the Nairobi Horns Project, how is it so far?
The band is led by the horns which is the trumpet, trombone and the saxophone and as a clarinet player I fit right in. Their rhythm section is very strong that is the drums, base, guitar and the keyboard. The Kenyan approach to the melody works very well with my music. They brought their own kind of feeling to it and they’re also quite serious about the structure of the sound. We have also created new pieces of music which we’ll be premiering at the festival on Sunday.
Advise for any upcoming jazz musicians
I would encourage them to keep on practicing and get really good at what they want to do. My biggest advise is for them to start composing and performing their own music because this is what represents us as artists. Its okay to play the popular music from other musicians but let there be something that people can identify you with. All the jazz greats composed and performed their own music and upcoming artists would be surprised at the quality of music that they can produce.