Nepali Times
Let them hear jazz

KIND OF BLUE: Soulmate fires up Shangri-La

We don't know about you, but when we go to a jazz concert, especially where bands inspired by Brazilian music are playing, we expect it to be, well...jazzy.

So the tables and chairs at Hyatt for Jazzmandu's headliner event may have worked for the mellow tunes of Trio Urbano. But when Sheyla Costa said the crowd made her "want to cry" and that she wanted to "go home" when noone stood up to dance to her Samba-inspired Parisian jazz, she was on to something.

Not to take anything away from the impressive roster of artists Jazzmandu brought to Kathmandu this year. The line-up ranged from the traditional classical music of Gurudev Kamath to the energetic improvisations of Thai/French Vatchapuj to the bossa nova beats of Sheyla Costa-La Brasileira. Jazzmandu may indeed be the biggest jazz festival in the Himalaya.

The festival had something for everyone: the headliner event at the Hyatt treated the audience to a small, intimate evening of Brazilian jazz, while the 'music marathon' at Gokarna Golf Resort on Saturday entertained hundreds of guests with the entire spectrum of international musicians.?No wonder people were still talking about it on Monday morning.

Despite the bands' different styles, they palpably demonstrated the power of music to unite rather than divide.?Homnath Upadhaya gave us an impromptu tabla tutorial; Vincent Martial of Vatchapuj and Jamie Baum of Trio Urbano challenged each other to flute solos; and saxophonist Yuri Honing of Amsterdam persevered through a minor power-outage for his first 'solo in the dark' at Patan's Museum Cafe.

When Navin Chhetri started the festival back in 2002, his idea was to bring live jazz to the Nepali people. But with the kind of line-up they mustered, they should have just set up shop outside Patan Durbar rather than inside, and set the evening on fire. The Seventh Annual Kathmandu Jazz Festival did not disappoint. But next year, let's take Sheyla's advice - no? chairs.

Meg Patterson and Indu Nepal

More than meanwhile...

It was enough to give you the blues. Gokarna Jazz Bazaar or Blues at 1905? Should any Nepali craving a little night music really be forced to make such a momentous decision? Gigi of the Gigabytes would have minded very much, so blues it was. Unlike the static crowd at the Garden of Dreams the night before, Saturday's blues fest paid its dues in full. Tight sets from local bands Looza and Gigi and the Gigabytes were set off by the heartfelt blues rock of Bangalore's Parachute XVI and the muscular, percussive acoustic blues of the wholly entertaining Jimi (the Human) Hocking of Australia. And if the closing set by Brit blues geezers the Blues Business was a disappointment, the screaming soul blues of Shillong's Soulmate a couple of days later more than made up for it. In fact, they well nigh upstaged the rest of the line-up, having (been) chosen to perform at Jazzmandu's all-star event at the Hotel Shangri-La. Turns out blues and jazz are sometimes the same thing...

Rabi Thapa

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)