September-22nd-2003, 12:26 PM
Kuching Jazz Festival
The jazz festival, being organised for the first time in the State, will be held from Oct 16 to 17 at the Sarawak Museum ground as the museum building, built by the White Rajah, has the correct ambience as the background.
It will be a throwback to the colonial times when the local people used to gather at the museum ground every Sunday to listen to the police brass band.
An international cast of performers from the United States, Indonesia, Latin America, Cuba, Thailand and local Sarawak talents has been invited for the event.
The artistes invited include Ruth Sahanaya, a world renowned performer in pop, jazz and blues from Bandung, Indonesia, percussionist Steve Thornton from the United States and a seven-member outfit called the Bangkok Connection led by Sekphol Unsamran from Thailand.
From Malaysia, the performers include the Aloso Jazz Latino Band - a mixed group of Malaysians and foreign musicians comprising Alonso, Mario Serio, Rozhan Mohd Razman, John Azhley Thomas, Martin Elias Reyes and Azmi Hairudin.
Sarawak will be represented by jazz band, "All the Best" comprising composer, arranger, producer and performer Shafiee Obe Hairunie and the Sons Jazz Orchestra consisting of mostly freelance musicians and music lovers.
State Minister of Tourism Datuk Abang Johari Tun Abang Openg told a Press conference that the event was being held primarily to promote Kuching as a centre of jazz music in its aspiration to be a cultural city.
"Kuching will be developed as a city portrayed as a hub for multi-cultural activities where the local population can interact with international musicians one day.
"Just as we have the Rainforest Music Festival in July, in October we have the jazz festival.
"We expect tourists from places like Singapore, Peninsular Malaysia and perhaps from Hong Kong to attend," said Abang Johari, who hoped the event could encourage the young in the State to take up music as their career and be more involved in the performing arts.