Chinmaya Dunster - Biography


Born in 1954 in Kent, England, Chinmaya Dunster (né Stephen Dunster) attended Art college in Canterbury and pursued an independent study of classical guitar and composition throughout his adolescence and early twenties.

After finishing his formal education in the late seventies, Dunster left Europe and traveled through Afghanistan into northern India, where he became acquainted with classical Indian music and instrumentation. During spring break of his last year of art school in 1979, he flew off to Dehli to meet with his future wife, Diana. They travelled to the Himalayas. In the north Indian city of New Delhi, he attended an all-night performance of the sarod master, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and subsequently spent the next thirteen years engaged in the study of the sarod both in London and India.

Once he finished his Art college training, he spent a year in Canada with his wife Diana. Before returning to England they travelled through the East, first to Japan, then to Thailand and Sri Lanka.

As Hindustani musical tradition dictates that knowledge of technique and tradition is generally handed down from father to son, Dunster was initially challenged to find a teacher. In 1983 in London he became a disciple of Ustad Gurdev Singh (leading disciple of Ustad Amjad ali Khan). After moving to Pune, India, in 1989, he studied for a further six years with Pandit Shekhar Borkar, a mainly self-taught sarod master.

In 1990, Dunster founded the east-west fusion band with Prem Joshua, Terra Incognita and released two albums under that name through New Earth Records. After several solo projects, Dunster then founded the Celtic Ragas Band, whose self-titled 2001 release attracted the favor of former Beatles member Sir Paul McCartney, who then invited Dunster to perform at his 2002 wedding to Heather Mills in Ireland.

The following year he and the Celtic Ragas Band performed a CONCERT FOR INDIA'S ENVIRONMENT at BVIEER, Pune, released as the live CD 'Fragrance of the East' on New Earth Records. The video of this concert, blended with interviews with environmentalists, Indian school children reading their own poems on nature and stunning footage of the Indian wilderness, is available free on request at

In February 2010, Chinmaya Dunster formed the Green Ragas Band, playing at British Council, New Delhi (India) during the TERI YUVA Meet for environmental awareness,, and the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

Chinmaya Dunster currently resides in Goa (India) with his partner Naveena Goffer and their daughter Koyal Goffer-Dunster.

Read more about this topic:  Chinmaya Dunster

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