Jazzing up Sarawak

Source: http://star-ecentral.com/news/story.asp?file=/2006/5/10/music/14181248&sec=music

Wednesday May 10, 2006

Jazzing up Sarawak

How about a big jazz festival in Miri in Sarawak this weekend? ALLAN KOAY sizes up the treats.

WHILE the lush surrounds of Santubong in Sarawak is permeated by the sounds of world music every July during the Rainforest World Music Festival, Miri will be invaded this weekend by the sounds of jazz and fusion.

The inaugural Miri International Jazz Festival will be held on May 12 and 13 at the Pavilion at Park City Everly Hotel. Regional and international bands and musicians will be performing not just jazz and fusion, but also blues, Latin, Caribbean and ethnic music.

Set by the seaside, with the coastal breeze blowing in from the South China Sea, the festival will also feature a variety of food and beverage stalls all around the venue. Festival-goers are advised to dress for a night of fun and relaxation, as well as equip themselves with insect repellent as it will be an all-outdoor event.

Four acts will perform each night. On the first night, local band All The Best, as well as Nah Youn Sun (Korea/France), UBlues (Singapore/Sarawak) and Gangbe Brass Band (Benin) will take the stage. The second night will see performances from Mambo Jambo (Britain), Shanghai Jazz Ensemble (China), Fra Fra Sound (the Netherlands) and Lluis Coloma (Spain).

The Gangbe Brass Band from West Africa will present a unique blend of American jazz and voodoo rhythms with a 10-piece brass ensemble. UBlues, meanwhile, will serve up a platter of blues tunes, and this Singapore-based band features Trevor Jalla, a native of Miri. The band has had the honour of performing with blues legend Buddy Guy, as well as sharing the stage with luminaries such as James Brown, Jackson Browne and Robben Ford.

British outfit Mambo Jambo, with its brand of Cuban jazz fusion adds some heat to the event and is set to get audiences on their feet. With its full ammunition of acoustic instruments, the quintet also plays a mix of Latin and Caribbean rhythms.

For something truly Asian, there is the Shanghai Jazz Ensemble with its mixture of Mandarin, Cantonese and English vocals and a modern jazz edge with a nod to the past. For a mixture of east and west, vocalist Nah Youn Sun will perform a variety of songs with her French quartet. The singer was the first Korean to win the grand prize at the Antibes Jazz Festival (in France) last year.

Lluis Coloma will be hammering the keys of his piano to illicit some boogie-woogie sounds from his chosen instrument, while Dutch band Fra Fra Sound fuses kaseko music of Surinam with jazz and other African rhythms.

Closer to home is local five-piece band All The Best, which performs a wide variety of jazz with a Malaysian twist and also Latin tinge. The band is led by Miri-born Syafiee Obe Hairunie, who is also conductor of the Kuching SONS Jazz Orchestra.

Tickets to the festival are priced at RM50 per person for a one-day pass and RM80 per person for a two-day pass.

For enquiries, contact the Visitors Information Centre at Lot 452, Jalan Melayu, Miri ( 6085-434 181, fax: 6085-434 179), or log on to http://www.mirijazz festival.com, or email: [url=info@mirijazzfestival.com]info@mirijazzfestival.com.