Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fifth KK Jazz Festival a success

KOTA KINABALU: The 5th edition of the Kota Kinabalu Jazz Festival (KKJF) played out over the weekend saw crowds filling the venue at the Sutera Harbour Marina, Golf and Country Club’s Tennis Arena during both of its evening concerts.

2011’s KKJF is the most ambitious of the festival’s incarnations so far, with its organisers polishing the event’s different components to create an increasingly palatable entertainment experience that manages to appeal to music fans of all ages.

It has a stable of 12 performers, with four bands from Kota Kinabalu, one from Labuan, two from Kuala Lumpur, and the remaining international acts hailing from the United States, Australia, Indonesia, and Japan.

It is also the most diverse set of acts to be featured at the festival, drawing on musicians that represent many different facets of jazz music.

Z Yan, touted as a Chinese bossa nova princess, capitalises on her uniqueness as the only musician in Malaysia who sings Chinese lyrics to music which frequently accompanies vocals in English or Portuguese.

At a conference, Yan shared that she was truly excited to play in Kota Kinabalu, her enthusiasm leading to a nightmare in which KKJF co-organising chairman Roger Wang had failed to fetch her from the airport, thus leading to the cancellation of her performance.

Wang, who is also praised as a skilled finger-style guitarist both in the local music community and at festival circuits the world over, has outdone himself in terms of selecting musicians for this year’s KKJF. Wang made the decisions on which performers to invite for the festival, and is thus responsible for recruiting hidden gems such as Agung Beat.

The gamelan troupe from the Universiti Malaysia Sabah combines the distinctly primal tones of traditional Indonesian instruments with modern funk beats and bass lines, resulting in a truly compelling sound. Agung Beat was met warmly at their performance on the festival’s first night, where they played with Sabahan vocalist Dayang Noraini, who delivered a whimsically jazzed-up version of “Sayang Kinabalu”.

This year introduced a second attraction at the festival in the form of a centre stage, essentially a smaller platform built into the middle of the venue. This allowed musicians to alternate performances on both it and the main stage, offering virtually no downtime and enabling the concert to flow seamlessly, with occasional interjections and introductions care of the festival’s emcee, Mix FM DJ Serena C.

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Jazz Artist said...

It looks like this was very international as well with different kinds of music from various places. This was a very impressive jazz festival. If there were only more like this one.

lily said...

I come to visit naka...