KATHMANDU, Oct 29: The week-long jazz festival in the Himalayas, Surya Nepal Jazzmandu 2012, will commence on November 1. The festival this year features seven international artists and bands as well as five local bands and musicians.
Republica caught up via email with the artists. Excerpts:
Beat Kaestli and Ben Stivers (Switzerland)
Beat Kaestli and Ben Stivers will be here to entertain with their performances which mix traditional Jazz, R&B influences, Latin rhythms as well as European Folk songs, all done in a jazzy way. Kaestli is a vocalist, songwriter, arranger and producer living in New York City. He was awarded a scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music (BM) and the Ella Fitzgerald Foundation Scholarship by the Society of Singers. In 2008, he graduated with a Masters Degree from the Aaron Copland School of Music. Following the release of his acclaimed CD ‘Happy, Sad and Satisfied’ in 2006, he’s touring the world extensively with his own projects, showcasing his music in renowned clubs and at festivals across the US, Europe, Mexico and Canada.
Stivers, who arrived in NYC in 1998 and has been a part of the NYC jazz community ever since, has performed with a wide array of artists, including Groove Collective, Rez Abbasi, Kenny Rampton, Alexis Cole, and Joel Newton. He has also stayed active in the pop-side of music, touring and recording with famous artists and bands like the Bee Gees, Matchbox Twenty, and Ricky Martin.
Q&A with Kaestli
What excites you about Jazzmandu 2012?
A lot of things - the possibility of visiting Nepal for the first time, to present my music to a new audience, exploring Kathmandu and its surroundings, working with local musicians from Nepal, trying the food... the list is ongoing.
How would you define your music?
My music is an eclectic blend of different styles defined under the umbrella of Jazz. I mix my influences from years of experience in NYC and my international touring to North, South and Central America, Australia, Europe and now Asia to my own unique style of Jazz, R&B, Classical, Folk and Latin music.
What inspires your music?
Besides what I mentioned above, I get inspired by my surroundings, my friends, enemies, nature, family and sometimes just a wonderful piece of music. That’s especially important when I write my lyrics. When a song inspires me and gives me goose bumps the words usually just start flowing.
Formed in 2001, Nojazz shot up an explosive debut album released in 2002, a handful of remixes and colorful worship concerts around the hexagon and the planet and in a few years, became a phenomenon whose fame has spread like wildfire in the international music networks. The group has performed in more than 50 countries and in major festivals.
Q&A with Nojazz
What led to the formation of Nojazz?
We first were a gang of friends playing music in various bands, at first. Then, we wanted to form a new band all together, with some new ideas: we especially wanted to mix jazz, jungle/drum and bass style.
What have some of your achievements, from touring various international music festivals, been?
It has always been very exciting to play in various countries, especially during festivals where you can touch the hearts of lots of people as well as meet interesting musicians, and sometime even some idols of ours. In fact, the festivals are the best times of our musical life!
What are your expectations from Jazzmandu 2012?
We discovered Kathmandu last June, during our first India-Nepal tour, and it was a thrill to play amongst such a great audience. So we are very excited to come back at Jazzmandu, and to play in this unique location rich in cultural heritage. We hope that our first ‘fans’ will bring many friends together!