Jazzmandu With Peace Message

todayNovember 5, 2023 2

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By Mannu Shahi

The grandest celebration of jazz music in the Himalayas, Jazzmandu has hosted many legendary global acts whilst also yielding collaboration and performance slots for adept local musicians. Co-founded in 2002 by Chhedup Bomzan of The Jazz Upstairs Bar and Navin Chettri of pioneer Nepali band ‘Cadenza Collective’, Jazzmandu started as a week-long concert series but has transcended to become one of the most essential music festivals in a span of two decades. 

The festival emphasises the commemoration of Jazz in Nepal and helps spread the message of peace and compassion through this style of music since day one. The entire repertoire of this brand embodies various music learning and performing larks for more inclusivity and relevance like free shows, educational school programmes, workshops and jam sessions in various spots around Kathmandu. 

The featured artists for this 19th edition of Jazzmandu include Plurism, a cohesion of South Africa and Switzerland. The group features Feya Fake on trumpet and flugelhorn, Mthunzi Mvubu on alto saxophone, Sisonke Xonti on tenor saxophone, Xaver Ruegg on bass and Dominic Egli on drums and as the bandleader. 

The second group on the bill are an extraordinary trio comprising three generations of Dutch musicians called Under The Surface. With the eldest being the drummer Joost Lijbaart (1967), followed by guitarist Bram Stadhouders (1987) and the vocalist Sanne Rambags (1994). Subsequent to this is an award-winning singer-songwriter and a prominent name amidst the aspiring modern jazz scene in France: Lucile Chriqui. The singer is accompanied by her bandmates Bruno Schorp on bass, Gaetan Diaz on drums and Arthur Links on guitars. 

Another attraction for the event is Aussie saxophonist Nick Aggs, best known for his work with the celebrated fusion group Afro Dizzi Act. For this series of performances, the saxophone player will be accompanied by members of Cadenza Collective including Navin Chettri on drums, Rajat Rai on guitars and Samir Chettri on bass. Similarly, Palouse Forro are a duo led by American accordion player Adrian Crookston and Nepali percussionist Navin Chettri while they will also be joined by guitarist Rajat Rai for these series of events. 

Next is a Nepali-American instrumental fusion quartet Himalayan Highway amalgamating American bluegrass music with classic Nepali folk, comprising Prince Nepali on sarangi, Zoe Levitt on mandolin, Anish Tamang on guitars and Yuson Maharjan on percussion. 

Furthermore, on the list is sitar player Dhrubesh Chandra Regmi, a professor of music at Padma Kanya Campus, head of the fine arts department at Tribhuvan University and founder of the Nepal Classical Music Society, with friends from his fusion band Sukarma. Samundra band is showing their dedication to preserve traditionally brewed Gandharba music and its linkage. And there are notable eastern classical solo acts from artistes like Jonisha Poudel (vocals), Santosh Bhakta (ishraj), Dhan Bahadur Gurung (flute) and 

Nimesh Kapali (tabla). 

The free educational workshops and concerts have taken off since last Tuesday, October 31, with a two-day masterclass on nitty-gritties of Live Sound with Swiss sound engineer Daniel Laurent at Yalamaya Kendra, Patan. This was followed by a free concert program for students held at St Xavier’s School, Jawalakhel, on November 2, and Groovin’ at Upstairs the same evening at Jazz Upstairs, Lazimpat. On Friday, the event unfurled throughout the valley with the Valley Jams segment, five international acts taking over venues: Jazz Upstairs, Lazimpat – Cadenza ft. Nick Aggs and Palouse Forro; Electric Pagoda, Thamel – Under The Surface; Evoke, Jhamsikhel – Lucile Chriqui Quartet and EDN Restaurant, Sanepa – Plurism. 

On Saturday, the focal point of the event was Jazz Bazar taking place in the serene ambience of Gokarna Forest Resort featuring all of the musical acts involved throughout the series. The remaining events for this years’ performances include Sounds of Latin Jazz at Babarmahal Revisited on November 6; Jazz at Patan at Yalamaya Kendra on November 7 (6:30 pm onwards); free music workshop at Yalamaya Kendra from 11:00 am – 1:30 pm and The Music Room, Bhatbhateni, from 10 am – 12:30 pm, both on Tuesday, November 7. The celebrations will end with the Jazzmandu Finale once again featuring a full festival line-up at Hotel Yak & Yeti, Durbarmarg, on November 8.

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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