KUCHING, May 30, 2022: back for its 17e year is one of the oldest international jazz festivals in Southeast Asia – the Borneo Jazz Festival.
As in previous years, it brings together various music lovers in Miri, Sarawak’s second largest city, but this time in a hybrid format.
“Jazz in the Jungle”, this year’s theme to be held at Coco Cabana, Marina Bay, Miri, Sarawak from June 24-26, 2022, will feature cross-cultural musical collaborations showcasing their brand of ‘Jungle Jazz’. One of these artists will be ASIABEAT with famous Asian drummer Lewis Pragasam.
A pioneering force in creating cross-cultural musical collaborations in the region, and drawing inspiration from ‘Fusion’ and ‘World Music’, ASIABEAT brings together a convergence of different musicians. For the BJ 2022 edition, the band will feature Helga Violin from Hungary, Grace Leong on keyboards, Luke Joseph on guitar and Zailan Razak on bass. Additionally, local Sarawak talent Clinton Chua will be featured as a guest vocalist.
A versatile artist, ‘Helga Violin’ is a graduate of the Bela Bartok Conservatory in Budapest. Helga has appeared in many concerts as a soloist and chamber musician not only in Hungary but also in Italy and Asia, including Jakarta, Bali and Singapore. With a bespoke electric violin, Helga is passionate about fusing modern electronic music with elements of Asian ethnic music.
The ASIABEAT project was conceptualized in 1979. Lewis started ASIABEAT as a drumming group that would explore the blending of various traditional percussion instruments inherent in four of Malaysia’s major ethnic groups, namely; Malay, Indian, Chinese and Sikh, with the aim of highlighting and enlightening the general public about the incredibly rich and diverse culture that is largely ignored and taken for granted. ASIABEAT has since evolved with his seven album recordings, namely ASIABEAT, DARE TO DREAM, SPIRIT OF THE PEOPLE, MONSOON, DRUMUSIQUE, URBAN BEYOND & AKAR, reflecting Lewis’ penchant for diversity and knowledge of current trends in music. global music industry.
Since the band’s inception in 1979, ASIABEAT have been invited to perform at over 500 gigs and festivals like the Edinburgh Arts Festival, Java Jazz and ASEAN Music Festival, to name a few.
Recently in 2020, ASIABEAT celebrated its 40e birthday with a 7e recording of the album entitled “AKAR”, featuring musicians from 8 different countries. This marked a personal milestone for Lewis, as the album was conceptualized and manifested as a musical entity during a global pandemic.
Lewis Pragasam will lead Borneo Jazz’s Eco Drum Project which will take place on Sunday, June 5, 2022, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., in Coco Cabana, Miri, to create unique drums and percussion instruments from recycled waste and produce feel-good beats from community drum sessions in preparation for the Borneo Jazz Festival 2022.
Meanwhile, raised in jazz and soul music, DJ Estephe comes from the Côte d’Azur to the Borneo Jazz Festival, producer, remixer, record collector and creator of musical identity. Cradled in an era without musical concessions, DJ Estèphe, at the dawn of his 20th birthday, criss-crossed European clubs solo or accompanied by musicians. In the 90s, he decided to settle in Switzerland, where he was responsible for a vinyl store and the artistic direction of various clubs in Geneva. He produced with Jules Vulzor, his friend and accomplice at Studio, two of the most beautiful revisits of Marvin Gaye’s songs that topped the charts in New York and London.
DJ Estephe will solo the daily ‘Sunset Hour’ sets on the outdoor Borneo Jazz stage (1800-1930) and will be joined by Chris Stalk on saxophone and Jules Vulzor on bass during the festival’s Outdoor Late Night Sets (11.30pm to 1.30am) , with late night themes from Afro Latin House (Festival Day 1), Boogie Disco Funk (Festival Day 2) and Nu Jazz Soul & Bossa (Festival Day 3).
Self-taught artist, saxophonist Chris Stalk began his career in famous ballrooms with his father who played drums, quickly discovering Charlie Parker and jazz. The 90s marked the advent of Hip Hop “sound systems”, in which he actively participated, evolving towards abstract hip hop and electronic music, playing sax via guitar effects pedals. Constantly evolving as an artist, STALK has performed in various formations at festivals such as Montreux and Paleo in Switzerland, Moers in Germany.
Jules Vulzor is a Swiss producer and bassist. He produced ‘Guess What’ in 2009 and ‘Stress’, a platinum-selling hip-hop group from 2003. With DJ E’stephe, he co-founded ‘Revivra’, a nu-disco label that made several New York Charts for remixes by Marvin Gaye, and worked with Dave Richards (Queen).
Chris Stalk and Jules Vulzor led music workshops and lit up the local music scene in Miri as part of the Borneo Jazz Fab Lab Music Empowerment Program organized by Borneo Jazz 2022 curator No Black Tie.
Jazz music lovers can start purchasing tickets for BJ now from the official website at jazzborneo.com or directly from our official ticket resellers, Miri City Council at [email protected] and Transworld Travel Services Sdn Bhd at twtmiri @hotmail.com.
For the public category, 1-day pass is priced at RM128 per ticket, 2-day pass is RM228 per ticket, and 3-day pass is RM338 per ticket. For students and seniors, 1-day pass is RM88 per ticket, 2-day pass is RM128 per ticket, and 3-day pass is RM188 per ticket.
For those who want to enjoy BJ virtually, tickets are priced at RM25 per hour block. For more information on Borneo Jazz festival 2022, log on to BJ’s official website at www.jazzborneo.com.
(Your stories: Sarawak Tourism Board)