Time for jazz

Published On: October 18, 2019 11:12 AM NPT By: The Week Bureau

Jazzmandu 2019: What does this year’s edition of the biggest Jazz festival in Nepal have in store for you?

Surya Nepal Jazzmandu, aka the Kathmandu Jazz Festival, started on October 17 (yesterday) and will continue until October 23. For these seven days, Jazzmandu 2019 will celebrate its 17th year by hosting several shows across Kathmandu valley, as renowned musicians from Nepal and around the world come to join the festival to give the audience a sneak peek of the different dimensions of jazz. 

On Wednesday, Jazzmandu treated an audience of youngsters from local schools to a free show at Alliance Française in Jhamsikhel, Lalitpur. The show lasted for over an hour and a half and Kathmandu’s youths got to discover the uniqueness of jazz, and interact with world-class musicians eager to introduce them to their craft. 

The event also introduced Jazzmandu 2019’s freshly arrived visiting musicians to Kathmandu for the first time, exposing them to an audience that reflects the city’s diversity. 

“It has always been a priority for Jazzmandu to introduce and educate students about jazz and music in general by bringing in top artists from different parts of the world,” says Navin Chettri, founder and director of Jazzmandu. The concert for school students has become a regular part of the Jazzmandu event calendar and has given continuity to the festival’s mission of promoting music education. 

On the same day, at 7 pm, jazz-enthusiasts gathered at Jazz Upstairs in Lazimpat for an explosive jam session performed by Nepal’s Jazz, Afro-Funk band Cadenza Collective (where Chettri is the drummer and composer). They were also joined by this year’s visiting artists for an impromptu performance. ‘Groovin’ at Upstairs’ offered a window into the sound and spirit of the full week of music that Jazzmandu has prepared for its audience. 

“The idea of Jazzmandu is to bring in new artists who make music that is new or perhaps even unheard of in Nepal and give Nepali people a taste of the diversity in music from all over the world,” says Chettri. And thus, this year’s rendition of Jazzmandu will see several artists from all over the world performing at various places all over Kathmandu. For instance, with the help of Jazzmandu 2019, the German trio RSxT hopes to bring the daring music scene of Hamburg into the bustling streets of Thamel. 

Moreover, Canadian musicians Paul Tynan and Jake Hanlon have come back to play their bit in the jazz-fever for the first time since 2004. Local acts like Jooni, The Blue Fret and the Cadenza Collective will be representing the diversity of contemporary Nepali music. Tropic Green is also returning to Jazzmandu from Singapore for a second time, having left their mark in Kathmandu in 2014. 

“We also have Adrian Crookston with the Palouse Forro Experience, playing forro music from the North East of Brazil,” says Chettri adding that French artist Faby Medina, an ambassador of the unique musical traditions of her native Guadeloupe will also be performing at Manny’s Eatery and Tapas Bar in Jawalakhel.

This year, Jazzmandu 2019 also pays tribute to the tabla maestro Rabin Lal Shrestha, who had participated in every single edition of Jazzmandu right from its very first year. Shrestha passed away recently and to pay homage for his contribution to Jazzmandu and Nepali music, Shrestha’s son and students will be performing at the Jazz Bazaar in Gokarna, and the Jazz at the Temple House event will feature a special piece in his memory.

“Even though this is the 17th year, things have remained as exciting and challenging as before. We want to live up to people’s expectations and play our part in bringing something new to the table every year,” concludes Chettri. 

Valley Jams
Different venues in Kathmandu will feature performances by various Jazzmandu artists. 

Moksh, Jhamsikhel – Tropic Green
Jazz Upstairs, Lazimpat – Paul Tynan and Jake Hanlon; Adrian Crookston and Palouse Forro
House of Music, Thamel – RSxT
Manny’s Eatery and Tapas Bar, Jawalakhel – Faby Medina
Entry: Rs 600

Jazz Bazaar
Get away from the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu and enjoy some great music – a marathon of jazz and traditional Nepalis folk and classical music performed by top musicians from Nepal and across the world.

(Free shuttle buses to Gokarna will depart every hour from 1 pm to 4 pm from outside Hotel Marco Polo in Kamal Pokhari, and will stop for pickup outside the Hyatt Regency gate in Boudha. Return shuttle will be available between 10 pm and 11 pm, with drop-offs at Boudha and Kamal Pokhari.)
When: October 19, Saturday
Where: Gokarna Forest Resort
Time: 2:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Entry: Rs 1400

Sounds of Latin Jazz
Experience the sounds of authentic Afro-Caribbean and Brazilian Jazz.
When: October 20, Sunday
Where: Dhokaima Café, Patan Dhoka
Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Entry: Rs 1600

Jazzmandu Masterclasses
The Jazzmandu masterclasses are an opportunity for music students & jazz enthusiasts to interact with visiting musicians, share their experiences and stories and learn techniques and tips on various instruments and vocals.
When: October 22, Tuesday
Where: Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory, Jhamsikhel – Vocal & Instrumental Workshops
Time: 11:00 am – 1:30 pm
Entry: Free (limited seating)

Jazz at the Temple House
An evening of Nepali classical music fused with Jazz in a rich and soulful ambiance. International musicians share their musical ideas and energies with Nepal’s top classical musicians and Cadenza Collective at the fabulous Kantipur Temple House.
When: October 22, Tuesday
Where: Kantipur Temple House (Jyatha, Thamel)
Time: 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Entry: Rs 1600

Jazzmandu Finale
The Finale BIG JAM! Musicians from different bands come together on one stage to light up the festivities creating a high-energy, improvised musical treat.
When: October 23, Wednesday
Where: Hotel Yak & Yeti, Durbar Marg
Time: 5:30pm – 10:00pm
Entry: Rs1400

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