Djesben is a word from 1920's Java meaning "jazz band". Djesben (the term) dates from a time when the people of that far-off island were becoming interested in the exciting sounds of jazz blasting out of American dance halls, half a world away. DC’s own Djesben (i.e. the band) dates from 1999, when Washington, DC was celebrating the 100th birthday of one of her greatest native sons, Duke Ellington. We too are involved in rolling those exciting dance-hall sounds out into the world, smuggling back the music of far-away lands in exchange.
Djesben is a trio of multi-instrumentalists whose diverse backgrounds guarantee to delight with a variety of styles: jazz standards, bebop and bossa nova, as well as original tunes influenced by music from around the globe.
The instruments of Djesben are not those of the typical jazz trio:
Topher Dunne plays the Chapman Stick, a 10-string tapping instrument with the range of a piano.
Katy Gaughan plays a battery of percussion centered around her conga drums, the tall, wide-bellied hand drums of Latin music.
Christian Crowley plays the dulcimer, a small stringed instrument from the Appalachian mountains that can be strummed like a guitar or bowed like a violin.