Come Thursday 16 October, Kathmandu will once again groove to the sound of Jazz.
Come Thursday 16 October, Kathmandu will once again groove to the sound of Jazz. The annual music festival that has singlehandedly put Kathmandu on the world jazz map will, as in previous editions, take place at various venues in the city from 16 to 22 October.
Created by musician Navin Chettri in 2002, Jazzmandu is one of the most popular international music events in the country. Now, in its 12th year, the festival has become an institution.
"People look forward to it as much as they do for Dasain," says Chettri who is also the drummer for Cadenza, Nepal's first jazz outfit.
Dubbed as the “biggest Jazz party in the Himalayas”, Jazzmandu has over the years brought to Nepal some big names of the genre such as Trilok Gurtu, Claudia Quintet and Rootman. In keeping with their goal to provide different flavours of jazz, the organisers have lined-up the most diverse collection of bands to play at this year's event.
Nine bands from Australia, Brazil, Cuba, France, Japan, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, United States, and Nepal will perform at Jazzmandu 14.
The Jazz for the Next Generation competition will open the festival.
WHERE, WHAT, WHEN
Jazz for the next generation
The three selected finalists will perform for the crowd and the panel of judges, consisting of visiting Jazzmandu artists. The outstanding band will stage at Jazz Bazaar (Gokarna Forest Resort) along with top international Jazz artists and will engage in a private workshop with Jazzmandu musicians.
16 October, 4 to 6pm
Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory (KJC), Jhamsikhel
Free entry (limited seating)
Groovin’ at Upstairs
Cadenza and friends kick off the fest with a jam at the heart of Jazz in Nepal, Jazz Upstairs.
16 October, 7 to 9 (Gates open at 6pm)
Jazz Upstairs, Lajimpat
The valley will resound with the sounds of jazz. Different venues in Kathmandu will feature performances by the Jazzmandu artists. Take your pick and go where your favourite band will be jamming.
17 October, 7 to 9pm (Gates open at 6pm and close at 7pm)
Will be confirmed soon.
Get away from the hustle of Kathmandu, be surrounded by the lush, serene Gokarna Forest Resort and enjoy the good music. Jazz Bazaar is a marathon of Jazz and traditional Nepali music with international and Nepali musicians.
18 October, 2.30 to 10pm (Gates open at 1.30pm and close at 7pm)
Gokarna Forest Resort
Free shuttle bus service from outside Hyatt Regency gate, Boudha, available every hour between 1 to 4pm. Return shuttle bus available between 10 to 11pm, drop to Chabahil.
Red hot Latin Jazz
A night of Latin Jazz, featuring authentic Afro-Cuban sounds of the Caribbean.
19 October, 7 to 9pm (Gates open at 6pm and close at 8pm)
Hotel Summit, Kupondole
Jazzmandu Master Class
The Jazzmandu master class is an opportunity for music students and jazz enthusiasts to interact with visiting musicians, share their experience and stories, and learn different instrumental techniques.
21 October, 1.30 to 3.30pm
Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory (KJC), Jhamsikhel
Free entry (limited seating)
Jazz at Patan
An evening of Nepali classical music fused with Jazz in a rich and soulful ambience. International musicians bring out their musical ideas and backgrounds with Nepal’s top-notch classical musicians and Jazz band, Cadenza.
6 to 8.30pm (Gates open at 5pm and close at 7pm)
Dhokaima Café (Yala Maya Kendra), Patan Dhoka
For the Finale BIG JAM, musicians from different bands play their sets and later jam together, creating a high-energy, improvised musical treat.
22 October, 5.30 to 10pm (Gates open at 4.30pm and close at 8pm)
Yak & Yeti, Darbar Marg
MEET THE ARTISTS
Kristian Persson Elements [Sweden]
Kristian Persson Elements
cleverly merge progressive Jazz, Indie rock, Funk and Soul, to set nasty grooves that provoke uncontrollable head nods. The band is led by 24-year-old Kristian who has developed a distinctive trombone sound. After working on several projects, he is now rowing his own boat to contribute to the vibrant Swedish Jazz scene. Probably the most awaited band of Jazzmandu 2014, Kristian Persson Elements, will release their debut album this fall featuring Persson’s original compositions.
KJ Denhert [USA]
Taking her roots in jazz, reggae, soul and folk, KJ Denhert
has developed a music that she describes as “urban Folk-Jazz.” The live performances of this autodidact are always suave, yet energetic and move you to laugh. Her silky voice and the Neo-Soul arrangements magnify her lyrics full of intelligent insight. Denhert’s particular approach to jazz has made her music enjoyable for varied audiences and earned her four Independent Music Award nominations. KJ Denhert is affectionately known as the “triple threat” because she is an award-winning, one-of-a kind songwriter, guitarist and performer.
Ange Takats [Australia]
makes us go back in time as she combines ragtime of the 30s and American Folk music of the 60s. The minimalist arrangements on her latest record, Arva, reveal her pure vocal tone. As a former foreign correspondent, her various trips have provided her with material to write enchanting lyrics.
Pity Cabrera Trio [Cuba/France]
Cuban pianist Pity Cabrera
has shown his musical versatility by trying his hand in various styles like jazz, classical and traditional cuban music. Established in 2010 in Paris, Pity Cabrera has become a favourite musician amongst Europeans and is one of the most promising of his generation. With musical fluency, sensitivity and charisma, he has played at major venues and musical events in Europe.
Eduardo Mendonça [Brazil]
Born in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, tracing his lineage to a royal African family bearing the hereditary title of Mama Beka (“prophet of the royal court”), Eduardo Mendonça
has lived for the past ten years in Seattle. A vocalist, guitarist and composer, he started his musical career with the Bakra Bata steel drum band. He then toured internationally as vocalist and percussionist with the folkloric troupe, Exaltação á Bahia before forming his own band, Show Brazil. Eduardo Mendonça has received significant recognition and many awards as an outstanding Brazilian musician.
Tropic Green [Singapore]
is a cosmopolitan Jazz band based in Singapore. The seven members from Cuba, Japan, Mexico, United States and Singapore unite to deliver vibrant compositions, all written by the leader, Susan Harmer. Their skillful arrangements have real depth of harmony, reflecting the tonal colours of the various instruments in the band. Lush voicing and delicate phrasing give Harmer’s ballads a unique, charming quality. This band possesses that hard-to-find balance of punchy rhythmic beat matched with lyrical melody lines that make it a very listenable experience.
Dhrupad Caravan [Nepal]
is the most ancient style of Hindustani classical music where two singers sing together, Jugal Bandi style. Major tradition of Indian culture, Dhrupad has survived until today in its original form. It has a spiritual nature, seeking to induce feelings of peace and contemplation to the listener. Vishal Bhattarai and Inoue Sou have studied Dhrupad music under The Gundecha Brothers in India for six years. They began performing together in 2011. Rabin Lal Shrestha, a renowned Nepali tabla player in Nepal will be collaborating with the duo.
KJC and N.A. Jazz Orchestra [Nepal]
The KJC-ARMY Jazz Orchestra
is a recent collaboration between the Nepal Army Band and the Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory with the main purpose of promoting the big Jazz orchestra sound, something unique in Nepal. Its directors and conductors, Rajat Rai, Amul Kharki and Mariano Abello, lead this 18-piece orchestra, which plays Blues, Rock and Latin music arrangements. After only a year of training, the orchestra has had considerable success, playing for the US Embassy in Nepal and an Asian military function in South Korea. They received significant feedback and recognition for their talents and original arrangements.
Cadenza Collective [Nepal]
The story of Jazzmandu is closely tied to Cadenza Collective
. Founded in 1992 by Navin Chettri (Jazzmandu’s director), the band started experimenting with Jazz in 1998 while playing gigs around Kathmandu, breaking the mould in a city then dominated by Rock bands. As the house band at Jazz Upstairs, Kathmandu’s first jazz club, the band evolved from a jam band experimenting to a mature collective of musicians who has nurtured Kathmandu’s improvised-music scene. After a nine-year hiatus, Cadenza released in 2014 its 6th album, Back to the Roots which bridges Afrobeat and Nepali folk music.