Taking place at the Yak and Yeti Hotel in Kathmandu, the finale was a culmination of music across genres.
The Surya Nepal Jazzmandu 2016 Jazz festival came to a close on 26th October Wednesday night with a lineup of the some of the finest musicians from around the world. Taking place at the Yak and Yeti Hotel in Kathmandu, the finale was a culmination of music across genres. The venue featured a large green space with a swimming pool, rose bushes, gardens, lights, and food vendors.
Ange Takats started the festival off with her soulful singer songwriter set. Takats played three songs ending with a Bob Dylan tune, “I Shall Be Released” accompanied by members of The Rocket Men. Next up was the KJC & Nepal Army Jazz Orchestra led by Cadenza member Rajat Rai. The orchestra played through jazz standards delighting audience members with their big band feel.
Next in the line-up was Afuriko who played their unique mix of percussion and keys. The audience listened intently to the intricate drumming and piano solos. Rocket Men followed with three tunes new to the festival. The second tune, singer songwriter Ange Takats joined the group adding vocals to the lush harmonic structure. The group intertwined electronics with live instruments throughout their set which was a perfect transition to the next band, MN ‘JAM Experiment.
Mn ‘JAM brought a mix of mechanics and live instruments to the stage. The group featured singer Melissa Oliveria who used a looping machine to create lush harmonies over the band. The group ended their set with an arrangement of “Use Me Up.” Audience member Ayush said the performance was different than anything he had ever heard before. He went on to comment that the mix of electronics and live instruments created an “exciting sound”.
The next performer to take the festival stage was Janysett McPherson and her band. Cuban born McPherson sang through French, English, and Spanish songs. As she played, a crowd of dancers formed in front of the stage and grew throughout the set. The last song included audience participation. The audience was split into three sections, each singing a different harmony with McPherson scatting over it. Nanu a local Nepali heard McPherson for the first time and enjoyed her set very much. She said, “The mix of languages and her [McPherson] voice was amazing.”
Local favorite Cadenza Collective took the stage and right away the crowd pushed forward to dance to the familiar tunes. The audience danced as Navin Chettri sang “Baga Zaga”, an original composition. It was obvious the audience enjoyed Cadenza Collective by their cheers and dancing. The final band of the night was Lyrics Born from the USA. This band brought a new feeling to the stage with their hip-hop vibe. Tom Shimura, the lead vocalist got the crowd up, dancing, and singing along to his catchy riffs.
For the last song the band invited Navin Chettri back on stage followed by all the musicians in the festival. The large group sang and played together on stage for one last jam. With a final cadence, the musicians put down their instruments and took one last bow concluding a spectacular festival. It was clear that this festival has a special quality to it. The ability to create an atmosphere of collaboration and compassion amongst musicians is something to be noted. The festival looks forward to their 2017 lineup, promising another year of fine musicians and jazz in the Kathmandu Valley.