By Geryl Ogilvy
KUCHING, April 9: Malaysian pop and R&B songstress Ning Baizura will headline this year’s Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival (KWJF) on Sept 27-28.
Ning, known for hits such as ‘Kau Dan Aku’ and ‘Awan Yang Terpilu’, will be joined by Sarawakian violinist Nisa Addina; Bossa Nova and Shanghai Jazz singer from Melaka, Z Yan; as well as Chicago-style blues band from Australia, The Doodaddies, featuring the brilliant guitar chops of David Brewer, amongst the confirmed line-up.
Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said additional performers will be announced as the organisers continue to attract top jazz artistes to light up the festival.
“KWJF, into its third year, has created quite an impact in the local music scene. Many jazz lovers from the Southeast Asian region have come to know about the event.
“The festival has attracted some 4,000 visitors respectively in the past two editions and about 30 per cent of the festival goers are foreigners. We expect the crowd to be similar this year,” he told reporters at the launch of KWJF 2019 here yesterday.
The two-day festival will be held at the Kuching Waterfront walkway at the Grand Margherita Hotel.
Abdul Karim said the state was serious in promoting Sarawak as a venue for music festivals.
“We already have signature events such as the Miri Country Music Festival into its sixth year, Borneo Jazz Festival (14th year) and the Rainforest World Music Festival or RWMF, which would be in its 22nd edition this year.
“We want to make Sarawak a popular music destination for all music genres, whether you’re a fan of jazz, blues, world music, rock, and others.
“This is part of our Visit Sarawak Campaign, where we will diversify our tourism products apart from our ecotourism, biodiversity, cultural, health, and sports,” he continued.
The annual KWJF was created in 2017 by the Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) to give prominence to the scenic Kuching Waterfront while also serving as a platform to nurture and inspire local music talent.
SEDC deputy general manager (Commercial Sector) Edwin Abit said one month before the festival, a KWJF Jazz Band Search would be held to give opportunities for promising local bands and performers to participate in the festival line-up alongside renowned local and international artistes.
Last year, Kuching band Sang Voyage won and was given exposure to perform to a wider audience at the KWJF.
“With a strategically positioned main stage overlooking the scenic Sarawak River, KWJF promises festival goers a continuous flow of soulful, vibrant jazz music coupled with eclectic offerings of food and beverages, arts, crafts, activities and workshops,” he said.
Last year’s corporate social responsibility efforts by KWJF also raised RM2,000, divided equally between two local charities – Perkata (Association for the Welfare of Intellectually Disabled Children) and Pibakat (Sarawak Society for Parents of Children with Special Needs).
KWJF 2018 artistes autographed their posters, which were then sold to fans and festival-goers at the event, he continued.
Previous KWJF performers included local artistes Sheila Majid, Dayang Nurfaizah and the Blues Gang; Tulus, Tompi and Kunto Aji from Indonesia; Singapore’s Aisyah Aziz and Alemay Fernandez; Carmen Suzo Trio of Portugal and Ernie Watts from the United States.
The event also announced Sarawak Pay as KWJF 2019’s official payment partner. There will be a discount for tickets purchased through Sarawak Pay.
Performer line-up and ticket information will be available at www.kuchingwaterfrontjazz.com and KWJF Facebook page. — DayakDaily