Banda Internationale

open-minded and socially committed

Banda Internationale
© Illustration: Bente Schipp

Dresden is most likely to be associated with classical music and jazz. But the city's sound is more diverse: cosmopolitan "good mood beats" by Banda Internationale, soft indie sounds by Shelter Boy, elegant art-pop by Olicía or danceable electropop by OXO OHO. In our series "The sound of Dresden", dresdner musicians chat about why saxony's capital is more than just Semper Opera and classical music.

Banda Internationale

The band project in Dresden Affected is committed to refugees and advocates a welcoming culture. The project has its origins in the “Banda Communale” marching band, which has been musically active for over 15 years. Her repertoire includes music from many parts of the world, especially from crisis regions such as North Africa, the Balkans and the Middle East.

As a sign against right-wing extremism, hatred and agitation, the band started the “Banda Internationale” project in 2015, a collective that now consists of almost 20 people with musicians from Syria, Palestine, Iran and Iraq. So far, they have been seen live at over 400 concerts and demonstrations.

“There is a political element to every performance. The music opens doors for our message, namely tolerance and human kindness.”

What is important to you in your music?

When we’re on stage, it is important that we are all in a good mood and that we are on the same wavelength. Then the music is good too, and everyone has fun. At the same time, though, there is a political element to every performance. The music opens doors for our message, namely tolerance and human kindness, but also for specific causes such as raising funds for the lifeboat service.

Why is Dresden a good place for musicians? What elements are perhaps still missing?

Because Dresden is a city that thrives on culture, there is a young and culturally minded audience. Culture enriches society, and Dresden has not yet reached saturation point. But in regard to international, modern, experimental and crossover art, the spectrum could be even wider.

Which area in Dresden has influenced you the most?

Neustadt, because it is such a diverse, family-friendly and multicultural district.

Can Dresden be heard in your music?

Yes, especially the new Dresden. Not least because, for the past six years, new arrivals in the city who came here as refugees have become an integral part of our band and have made their contribution to our sound.

What are you hoping for in 2020?

Greater coexistence in society and a clear rejection of right-wing populism, and that also goes for cultural policy. In 2020, we will once again be focusing our attention on Saxony, especially in a music education context. At the moment, we are preparing yet another application for funding to run workshops in schools and music projects with children and adolescents, whether or not they come from a migrant background.

The Dresdner Band Banda Internationale was founded in 2015, emerging from the band project Banda Communale. The band consists of about 18 musicians, with and without migration background. Their social commitment has been honoured many times, among others with the special prize for the cultural participation of refugees in 2016 by the Minister of State for Culture and Media: Monika Grütters.