Elegant, rich and lively — the rhythms of jazz hit notes truly distinctive of any other genre.
Taking place this weekend is the second edition of the Iskandar Puteri Jazz Festival, being held this year at Marina Walk, Puteri Harbour on September 8th.
The festival will feature acts by renowned musicians all across the world. And whether you’re a jazz connoisseur or a complete novice to the genre, this year’s festival is bound to have something suited to your taste.
1. Experience live performances from renowned jazz musicians
This year’s festival will consist of two main stages, The Boulevard Stage and The Harbour Stage; each with its own lineup of performances.
The Boulevard Stage will feature Agis Kania, a woman of Sudanese, Chinese and Indian descent who comes from a musically-inclined family and has performed on local and international stages all her life. Joining her onstage are local icons NJWA, known for her idiosyncratic blend of traditional and contemporary music, and Ground Passenger, a jazz band project started by music educator and drummer, Terrence Ling Hung Shu in 2016.
The stage will also witness a strong middle-eastern influence, through the work of Iranian duo Kayhan Kalhor and Kiya Tabassian, who will perform jazz on traditional instruments such as the kamancheh (Persian spike fiddle) and setar (Persian lute). There will also be a performance by Kirana Kay, a Kuala Lumpur-based vocalist known for her fresh and lively arrangements of jazz music.
She will be sharing the stage with Groove Messenger, an acid jazz Indonesian band who has been performing for over twenty years. Also look forward to EE Jeng, a highly in demand professional musician in both the local and international scene who will be showcasing his own style of modern jazz and R&B soul music.
The Harbour Stage will then feature guitarist Robin Banerjee, who, famed for his work with Amy Winehouse, will present a collaborative performance featuring several longtime musical companions. The stage will also be home to the jovial genre of swing jazz, by local group The Frankie Sixes, which consists of Reza Salleh, Sharon Chong, Dave Tebari and Sudin.
Also performing is Aisyah Aziz, who first became known to Malaysian audiences after participating in Akademi Fantasia in 2013 and has since made a name for herself with hits such as Senyum Saja for which she won Best APM Song and Best Song (Singapore) at a regional Malay music awards show. For audiences interested in something even more unique, watch out for Barry Likumahuwa, an Indonesian bass player who incorporates jazz with hip-hop and traditional West Javanese, Moluccan & Balinese influences. And make sure you stay for Azmi Hairudin, a sax player who will take the stage with his renditions of contemporary jazz.
2. Perform alongside renowned musicians during special jam sessions!
If a day of jazz has got you wanting to be a part of the fun, make sure you stay on after the main performances to take part in some special jam sessions! These sessions will be hosted by the performers themselves and will allow for spontaneous collaborations with several musicians at the festival. Even members of the public are invited to join!
If you’re a young, aspiring musician, this session will also present a good opportunity to work with other talents in the field and help get your name out in the scene.
3. Shop for artisanal goods
If you’d like to bring a piece of the festival back home with you, be sure to visit one of the festival’s many pop-up creative bazaars! A variety of stores will be set up, each featuring artisanal edibles and sustainably-produced goods, courtesy of social enterprise Johor Green, as well as a collector’s bazaar from local collective Johor Pickers. Johor Green will also be organising several workshops the day of the festival; including an Insect Stamp Art workshop, an Upcycled Lantern Workshop, a Pandan Paper workshop and a workshop that will teach you how to make an upcycled Sepak Takraw Ball! For the full schedule, check out their event page.
4. Close the night grooving to Latin American jazz
The enticing rhythms of Latin Jazz are often enough to make most people begin tapping their feets. Last year’s festival saw crowds dancing and jiving to rich Latin American beats. This year, the festival will once again end the night with Latin sounds and invite its audience to groove along to the rhythms of Latin Ensemble Orquesta Yambeque; a group of Latin musicians from Perth deemed the best in their country.
The group will offer a unique version of Salsa, which draws inspiration from the traditional music of the Caribbean Coast of Colombia, the sound of the 70s and the Golden Era of Salsa in New York and Puerto Rico.
Showcasing a more diverse and vibrant range of talents this year, the Iskandar Puteri Jazz Festival is well on its way to becoming among Southeast Asia’s biggest jazz festivals.
“Every time I curate a jazz festival, there’s one thing in my mind. Make it a memorable one, musically. Coming into the second edition of IP Jazz, my goal was to expand our range in music selection as well as grow our audience.” Juan Wan, the music curator of the festival said.
The Iskandar Puteri Jazz Festival will take place on the 8th of September at Marina Walk, Puteri Harbour, Persiaran Puteri Selatan, Kota Iskandar, 79100 Nusajaya, Johor. Admission is free for all.
For more information, visit the Iskandar Puteri website.
Featured Image Source: Iskandar Puteri Jazz Festival