Star-studded lineup of performers ready to dazzle at Borneo Jazz Festival 2022

(From clockwise) DJ Estephe, (group photo left to right: Lewis, Luke, Zailan, Helga, and Leong), Lewis, Helga and Jules are scheduled to perform at BJF 2022.

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KUCHING, May 25: Prepare to be engrossed in cross-cultural jungle jazz fusion at the Borneo Jazz Festival (BJF) 2022 as Asiabeat returns with an international lineup and veteran Geneva-based house DJ Estephe scheduled to put on an unforgettable performance alongside saxophonist Chris Stalk and bassist Jules Vulzor.

According to a press release issued today by the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB), this year’s BJF theme, ‘Jazz in The Jungle’, will portray cross-cultural musical collaborations presenting their brand of ‘Jungle Jazz’.

“One of those artists will be Asiabeat, featuring celebrated 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 BJF 2022 edition, the band will feature ‘Helga Violin’ from Hungary, Grace Leong on keyboards, Luke Joseph on guitar, and Zailan Razak on bass,” STB said.

STB added that Sarawak’s homegrown talent, Clinton Chua, will also be featured as a guest vocalist.

‘Helga Violin’ is a versatile artist who graduated from the Bela Bartok Conservatory in Budapest and has appeared in numerous concerts as a soloist and chamber musician not only in Hungary, but also in Italy and Asia, specifically Jakarta, Bali, and Singapore.

STB remarked that Helga, who plays a custom-made electric violin, is passionate about fusing modern electronic music with Asian ethnic music elements.

“The Asiabeat project was conceptualised in 1979.

“Lewis founded Asiabeat as a percussion ensemble to 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 goal 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 seven album recordings, namely Asiabeat, Dare to Dream, Spirit of The People, Monsoon, Drumusique, Urban Beyond, and Akar, reflecting Lewis’ penchant for diversity and knowledge of current global music industry trends,” STB explained.

“Lewis will be leading the Borneo Jazz’s Eco Drum Project, which will take place on June 5, 2022, Sunday, from 4pm to 6.30pm. at the Coco Cabana in Miri to create unique drums and percussion instruments out of recycled waste and to produce feel-good beats from community drumming sessions in preparation for BJF 2022,” STB revealed.

Meanwhile, raised on jazz and soul music, coming to BJF from the French Riviera is DJ Estephe, a producer, remixer, record collector, and creator of musical identity.

“Cradled in an era without musical concession, DJ Estephe at the dawn of his 20s, roams European clubs solo or accompanied by musicians.

“He produces with Jules Vulzor, his friend and studio accomplice, two of the most beautiful revisits of Marvin Gaye songs that topped the charts in New York City and London,” per the press release.

Additionally, STB remarked that DJ Estephe will play solo ‘Sunset Hour’ daily sets by the Borneo Jazz outdoor stage (6pm – 7.30pm), 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 nightly themes of: Afro Latin House (Festival Day 1), Boogie Disco Funk (Festival Day 2) and Nu Jazz Soul & Bossa (Festival Day 3).

It added that forerunners of the meeting between DJs and musicians live improve sessions, the trio has a gift to keep the party going after Borneo Jazz main stage performances.

“A self-taught artist, saxophonist Chris Stalk began his career in popular ballrooms with his father who played drums, very quickly discovering Charlie Parker and jazz.

“Constantly evolving as an artist, Chris has performed in various formations in festivals such as Montreux and Paleo in Switzerland, Moers in Germany, with important jazz artists such as Erik Truffaz, Pierre Audetat, and Christophe Calpini, and with the famous star ballet-dancer, Zizi Jeanmarie at Bastille Opera,” STB explained.

Moreover, STB worded that Jules Vulzor is a producer and bassist from Switzerland and he produced “Guess What” in 2009 and “Stress”, a platinum disk winning hip hop band from 2003 onwards.

“With DJ Estephe, he co-founded ‘Revivra’, a nu-disco label that went on several times on the New York Charts for remixes of Marvin Gaye, and has worked with Dave Richards (Queen).

“Chris and Jules have been conducting music workshops and lighting up the Miri local live music scene as part of Borneo Jazz Fab Lab Music Empowerment Programme organised by No Black Tie, curator of Borneo Jazz 2022,” STB concluded.

Jazz music lovers can start purchasing tickets for BJF 2022 starting now from the official website at jazzborneo.com or directly from the official ticket resellers, Miri City Council at ptbmiri@gmail.com and Transworld Travel Services Sdn Bhd at twtmiri@hotmail.com. — DayakDaily