Welcome to the magical Borneo Jazz! Previously known as Miri International Jazz Festival, Borneo Jazz celebrates its 9th anniversary this spring. On 9 and 10 May, Malaysia will welcome a groovin’ lineup filled with local and international talents.
Among the prominent jazz events organised in Asia, there is one that has been on the rise. With the aim of giving a unique positioning of Sarawak (Malaysia) to jazz enthusiasts, Borneo Jazz is on the way to become one of the region’s leading jazz festivals.
With almost 10 years behind it, the event comes back with its rich local-international talents formula. Get ready for exciting things, because the 2014 edition of Borneo Jazz is going to be an incredible one!
Local Heroes and International Rising Stars
Critically-acclaimed jazz singer Diana Liu and the funk-soul band JunkOFunc are Malaysia’s excellent representatives at Borneo Jazz 2014.
Diana Lui is among the country’s most celebrated jazz musicians. This Sarawakian-born multi-talented vocalist, composer and producer studied classical and contemporary voice at the University of New South Wales and the Australian Institute of Music, before returning back to Malaysia. With her debut, in 2007, she won 1st runner up in the second season of the 8TV show Project SuperStar.
Since then, Liu has built herself a respectable career and she is known to the Malaysian music scene both for her performances in high-profile venues such as No Black Tie, Alexis and the Hakka Republic, as well as for being a skilled singer in both Mandarin Chinese and English.
At Borneo Jazz 2014 (9 May, 7:30 pm), she will present her most famous songs, including those from Sunny Days, her latest album that was mastered in the US by renowned mixer Ken Freeman.
The 12-member funk-soul outfit JunkOFunc officially debuted at the 2008 Genting International Jazz Festival…and hasn’t stopped entertaining crowds since! This band, which brings together chosen individuals with a common musical taste, went on to perform at Singapore’s 2010 Kinestasia Music Festival, Genting’s 48th Anniversary Music Festival last year and is known for being a highly energetic act. Festival shows or private events, for JunkOFunc there isn’t much difference: every performance is high on funky rhythms, soul and entertainment! They will be on the stage-by-the-sea on 9 May, from 10 pm.
Since releasing his debut major label record last year, jazz singer, pianist and songwriter Anthony Strong has been featured on the front page of the prestigious Le Figaro and has performed in front of millions of fans on the German television. What has been described by the British press as “England’s new jazz superstar”, supported the legendary BB King and released an EP that reached #1 on the UK jazz charts. Because of his success, Strong was signed by the iconic French label Naïve – home of multi-million selling singers Adele, Katie Melua and Carla Bruni.
Performances with high-profile artists like Michael Bolton, Kyle Eastwood and Marti Pellow were followed by 9 months in the West End as Jerry Lee Lewis in the show Million Dollar Quartet and by shows all over Europe, including 12 sold out gigs at Paris’ legendary Duc Des Lombards.
On 10 May, starting from 10 pm, Borneo Jazz will welcome one of the most intriguing jazz acts around and the sounds from his latest album Stepping Out.
Georgian ethno jazz group Iriao plays a repertoire based on the country’s authentic instrumental folk and polyphonic music. Recognized by the UNESCO as “masterpiece of oral immaterial heritage”, Iriao will bring its unique sound that mix traditional Georgian music with jazz elements on the stage of Borneo Jazz on May 10 (8:45 pm).
All the way from Germany, Brassballett is probably one of the most eclectic acts you can see live. In fact, Brassballett is the first and only show in the whole world, where musicians are playing and dancing at the same time! The members perform a choreographed dance show on stage, while they play their instruments.
This new kind of performance came to the mind of bandleader Wassilij Goron, because of his experiences as professional trombone player with many different ensembles and for his passion for dance. Join Brassballett (10 May, 11:15 pm) for a once-in-a-lifetime incomparable show that features popular songs from different genres like jazz, funk and pop all arranged in a new style and combined with dance styles like hip hop, street style and salsa.
The name Mario Canonge is certainly nothing new to Latin and world music fans. This talented pianist from Martinique moved to Paris in the late 1970s to study music and joined several bands. In the early 1980s, he distinguished himself as both Latin music performer and jazz-rock fusion instrumentalist.
Inspired by popular Caribbean pianists Marius Cultier and Alain Jean-Marie, Canonge quickly established himself as an international in-demand artist. During the years, he has shared the stage with the links of Dee Dee Bridgewater, Carter Jefferson and Turk Mauro. At Borneo Jazz 2014, he brings his Caribbean sounds supported by a talented band (9 May, 8:45 pm).
All the way from Cuba, the all-male vocal sextet Vocal Sampling has been around for over 30 years. Using only the a capella genre, the group addresses all the rhythms of popular Cuban music with a distinctive and unique seal. On 9 May (11:15 pm), Borneo Jazz will host this incredible group that will bring their sounds of typical jazz bands, ensembles, salsa bands and instrumental combination on the stage-by-the-sea. Make no mistake, no instrument is used during a Vocal Sampling show: only vocal skills!
And for ethnic music lovers, Borneo Jazz 2014 will also present the Indonesian jazz band YK Samarinda. Bringing together fusion, ethnic songs of Kalimantan and jazz rhythms, this group formed in 2003 will bring a very likeable groovin’ mix of ethnic sounds on the stage-by-the sea on 10 May (7:30 pm).
Borneo Jazz 2014 presents a well-balanced mix of jazz and world music for both the sophisticated listeners and people in search of new bands to listen to. If you want to experience live music in a way you have probably never experienced before, the magical atmosphere of Borneo Jazz couldn’t be more suited for you.
9 – 10 May