7-13 October 2016 #829

Jazz it up in 'Mandu

Welcome to Jazzmandu 2016. The festival that put Kathmandu on the international jazz map turns 14
Sahina Shrestha

Every year between the festivals of Dasain and Tihar there is usually another festival in the Kathmandu calendar, Surya Nepal Jazzmandu. The weeklong jazz jamboree turns 14 this year and it returns with an impressive ensemble of international and Nepali artists. 

“We have been bringing the best international sound to Nepal,” says Navin Chhetri, artistic director of the event and the drummer and vocalist of Cadenza, who started organising the festival in 2002. 

Over the years, Jazzmandu’s popularity has grown with the organisers receiving applications and recommendations from all over the world. The screening process takes about a year and the organisers try not to repeat artists to give the audience a chance to taste the various flavours of jazz.

This year’s bands include Rocket Men (Germany), Afuriko (France/Japan), Mn’JAM Experiment (The Netherlands), Ange Takats (Australia), Lyrics Born (USA), and Janysett McPherson (Cuba/France). Home grown artists Cadenza Collective, Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory and Nepal Army Jazz Orchestra, Rabin Lal Shrestha ensemble, Umesh Pandit, Manmohan Thapaliya and Gandharvas will be accompanying them on the stage.

“Jazzmandu is not only a great event for Nepal, but also for international artists like myself who get to experience this very special festival which celebrates the best jazz music from around the world in the magical setting of Kathmandu,” says Ange Takats, who is one of the two returning artists for the festival. Takats previously performed in Jazzmandu in 2014 and was inspired by the artists and the audience. 

“I had no idea Kathmandu has such a thriving jazz scene. I was really impressed back in 2014. There seems to be an audience of jazz lovers in Kathmandu that are so supportive of the scene,” she adds.

“We are really excited to see people’s reaction to our music in Nepal because it’s not a typical jazz or world music sound,” says Philipp Püschel, of the German group Rocket Men, who describe their music as “intergalactic jazz”. 

Popular Jazz for the Next Generation competition will be taking a break this year, but the free concert for school students will continue this year as well. Apart from educating, encouraging jazz enthusiasts, and providing a musical experience, Jazzmandu also aims to act as a bridge for cultural exchange. Says Chhetri: “While working closely for seven days, there will be numerous opportunities to learn from each other.” 


Rocket Men (Germany)

The five member ensemble from Germany combine jazz, drum’n’bass, hip-hop, dub and rock to take the listeners on an extraterrestrial journey through a variety of soundscapes via musical fusion. With the recent release of their album Weightless, the band is hitting the road both in Europe and Asia, transporting the audience to another planet with every show.

Lyrics Born (USA)

Born in the vibrant Bay Area of California, Lyrics Born began his music career at UC Davis’s college radio station. Years later, he is making music that is raw, fresh, unconventional, and fun. Recently he released Now Look What You’ve Done, Lyrics Born! Greatest Hits, a compilation that perfectly exemplifies his strength as a lyricist and musician.

Janysett McPherson (Cuba/France)

Born in Guantanamo, Cuba, Janysett McPherson began playing the piano at a young age and found her passion and talent for music. Her music brings a blend of Latin American sounds with jazz, brought to life with her world-class voice. McPherson has toured the world, recorded many albums, and collaborated with some of the finest musicians in the world, and now brings her talents to Kathmandu.

AfuriKo (France/Japan)

World Jazz duo Afuriko features Japanese percussionist Akiko Horii and French pianist and composer Jim Funnell. They began playing music together in 2010 when their paths crossed in Paris. The band has released two albums since then, On the Far Side (2014) and Style (2016). Since the release of their latest record, the duo has toured through Asia, Europe, and North America playing alongside notable jazz musicians and collaborating with Grammy nominated artist Bill Sims, Jr.

Ange Takats (Australia)

Said to have one of the purest voices in the Australian music scene, Ange Takats is a former journalist turned singer. She began her career in Bangkok where she started to collect the stories that would weave in and out of her songs. Having toured all over the world and recorded many successful records, this seasoned performer brings her heart and soul to every performance.

Mn’JAM Experiment (The Netherlands)

'Innovative' is one of the first words that come to mind when you see and hear this band. Currently based in the Netherlands, this band is known for its novel take on jazz and colorful, multimedia live performances. Blending sounds from the 21st century with sounds of classic jazz, Mn’JAM’s performance is intriguing and electrifying.


20 October, Thursday

Concert for school students A free concert as part of Jazzmandu education initiative for young school students gives them an opportunity to experience music from around the world, interact with visiting musicians and share in on their musical journey.

Time: 11am to 12.30pm

Venue: Alliance Francaise, Tripureshwor

Free Concert (Invitations only, info@jazzmandu.org Limited seats).

Groovin' at Upstairs

The festival kicks off with performances by Cadenza and friends at Jazz Upstairs!

Time: 7 to 9pm

Venue: Jazz Upstairs, Lazimpat

Ticket: Rs 500 (Limited seats)

21  October, Friday

Valley Jams

Different venues in Kathmandu will feature performances by various Jazzmandu artists. Take your pick and go where your favorite band will be jammin’!

Time: 7 to 9pm

Ticket: Rs 500 (Limited seats)

Venues: House of Music, Thamel - LYRICS BORN (Presented by the US Embassy)

Jazz Upstairs, Lazimpat - AFURIKO/ ANGE TAKATS

Moksh, Jhamsikhel - JANYSETT McPHERSON

Manny’s Eatery & Tapas Bar, Jawalakhel - ROCKET MEN

 22  October, Saturday

Jazz bazaar

Get away from the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu and enjoy a marathon of jazz and traditional Nepalese folk and classical music performed by international and Nepali musicians at the Gokarna Forest Resort.

Time: 2.30 to 10pm

Venue: Gokarna Forest Resort

Ticket: Rs. 1200, 25% off on ticket for cyclists.

23  October, Sunday

The sounds of Latin Jazz

Bring your dancing shoes as you groove to authentic Latin Jazz & Afro-Cuban music.

Time: 7 to 9pm

Venue: Hotel Summit, Kupondole

Ticket: Rs. 1400

Featuring: Janysett McPherson (Cuba/ France) and Afuriko (France/Japan) 

24 October, Monday

Jazzmandu vocal and rhythm workshop

Time: 4 to 6pm

Venue: The Kathmandu Music Room/Naxal, Bhatbhateni Free entry (Very limited seating)


Afruiko - Hand percussion techniques and musicianship. Janysett McPherson - Cuban Rhythms & folkloric singing.

25 October, Tuesday

Jazzmandu master class

An opportunity for music students and jazz enthusiasts to interact with visiting musicians, share in on the experience and stories and learn different vocal and instrumental tips and techniques

Time: 1.30 to 3.30pm

Venue: Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory, Jhamsikhel 

Free entry (Limited seating)

Featuring: Mn' Jam Experiment, Lyrics Born, Rocket Men Jazz at the Temple House

A part of the Courtyard Music Series, enjoy an evening of Nepali classical music fused with Jazz in an intimate setting in a beautiful Nepali courtyard at the Kantipur Temple House. International musicians bring out their ideas and energies with Nepal’s top-notch classical musicians and Nepali jazz pioneers Cadenza Collective. Time: 6 to8.30pm

Venue: Kantipur Temple House, Jyatha ,Thamel

Ticket: Rs 1400 (Limited seats)

Featuring: Cadenza and Friends

26  October, Wednesday

Jazzmandu finale

The festival closes with performances by different bands and jam sessions to create a high-energy, improvised musical treat..

Time: 5.30 to 10pm

Venue: Yak & Yeti Hotel, Durbar Marg Ticket: Rs. 1200

Read Also:

Jazz comes home

The young in Jazz, Hannan Lewsley

Fuel up on Jazz, Madeline Zutt

Swinging without borders, Stéphane Huët

What they can do in Jazzmandu