KATHMANDU, Nov 1: Today marks the start of the 10 year old jazz festival Surya Nepal Jazzmandu 2012. The festival kick started with a music competition, Jazz for the Next Generation, a platform created for young jazz musicians to learn and interact with top international Jazz artists.
With the spirit of Jazz, Republica catches up with the organizers of Jazzmandu as well as two other bands. Nepal’s popular and world-touring folk ensemble, Kutumba will also be performing during the festival.
Cadenza Collective (Nepal)
Cadenza will be reuniting in Nepal to perform during Jazzmandu. The band comprised of Nepali musicians living in Germany, US and Nepal feature an array of world musical styles ranging from Nepali classical and folk to Afrobeat, funk and experimental.
Q&A with Navin Chhetri (Drummer/Vocalist and Co-Founder of Jazzmandu)
What can the audience expect from Cadenza this year?
We have some new material that we will be performing. We are looking forward to it. In fact, we just finished the music video for one of our songs and are excited about it.
What is special about the 10th edition of Jazzmandu 2012?
The big thing about the festival this year is that we have brand new bands and artists from around the world who have never performed in Nepal before. Tito Puente Jr and Marlow Rosado, for instance, are two of the best Latin Jazz artists that we have this year.
How has the journey been so far?
Fantastic! We’ve had our share of challenges, but we have overcome them and each year we have been giving our best.
On what criteria were the bands and artists for this year chosen?
Firstly, the artists featured were interested to be a part of Jazzmandu. Second, we focused on bringing in a variety of musicians bringing in new genres and styles which would be exciting for the audience.
As the organizers, what are your expectations for Jazzmandu 2012?
We hope for the best. For the past four years, we have been selling out most of our shows. We certainly hope that the audience will get larger this year. Hence, we emphasize on the purchase of tickets in advance so that there is no disappointment for the audience as far as seats and space are concerned.
Suzy&2& Kathmandu (Norway)
Suzy&2 is a jazz/pop trio from Oslo, Norway who combine original composition material with the Zimbabwean traditional instrument, Mbira Nyunganyunga and Kalimba. This year, Suzy&2will be collaborating with Nepali musicians Prabhu Raj Dhakal, Rabin Lal Shresta and Australian musician Marcus Dengate to create the project, Suzy&2 & Kathmandu. The project is all about the fusions of jazz, Norwegian, African and Eastern music traditions.
Q&A with Cecilie Giskemo (Vocals / Mbira Nyunganyunga / Kalimba)
What brought you here to Kathmandu?
I have been teaching music here in Kathmandu for last 10 months now at Nepal Music School, Pingalasthan. I came in through the Norwegian Peace Corps through a one-year exchange of music teachers.
How has your experience in Nepal been so far?
Very very positive. This is an inspirational place to be for a lot of reasons. The music tradition, for one, is very strong.
What do you expect from Jazzmandu 2012?
I have heard it’s a vibrant and diverse festival. I hope that it will give me the opportunity to meet many national as well as international musicians. I expect it to be a week full of music and inspiration. I’m very excited!
Urjazz, formed in 2009, is Kathmandu’s own six-member fusion band. The name of the band itself is taken up from two words, urja – meaning ‘energy’ in Nepali, and jazz. Combining the sound of the saxophone, flute, guitar, tabla, bass and madal, Urjazz has been seen in concert in different venues in Kathmandu as well as India and Finland. Made up of five Nepali musicians with their instruments and a Spanish woodwind player, the band will soon be launching their music album this November.
Q&A with Mariano E Abello (saxophone and flute)
Tell us something about your music.
Our music comes from the background of each of us, six members. We have Nepali, Hindustani, and jazz styles all mixed together.
How was this fusion group formed?
I like fusion music. I was waiting to bring out the right sound that I had inside my head. So, I put these guys (the Nepali musicians) together and they all agreed to be a part of it.
What are your expectations from Jazzmandu 2012?
One thing I really love about Jazzmandu is the fact that bands from all over the world will be at the festival, giving the chances for Nepali musicians to meet and create with other musicians around the world. Jazzmandu is an amazing effort and it needs much more support from the government. Perhaps then, the ticket prices can be less expensive and more Nepalis will be able to show up at the festival.