First Sabahan guitarist at Philippines Jazz Festival

Roger Wang performing at the second Cultural Center of the Philippines Jazz Festival in Manila.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s master guitarist Roger Wang became the first Sabahan guitarist to perform on stage at the second Cultural Center of the Philippines Jazz Festival in Manila, Philippines, last month.

Held at the prestigious 220-acre cultural centre that was officially opened by then president Ferdinand Marcos, the international Jazz Festival featured more than 100 artists and 15 bands from the Philippines, USA, Europe and Asia. It offered performances of jazz music in all its styles, from the big band, swing, blues, fusion and experimental.

The festival also offers workshops and lectures on the various jazz genres.

Wang, an internationally renowned acoustic guitarist, opened the festival in the centre’s Main Theatre, which sits 1,815 people. He performed at the inaugural night with the Blood Drum Spirit from the United States of America, Wayan Balayan from Indonesia and Filipino artists Brown Fix, Sitti and Brass Munkeys.

One aim of the festival, according to president of the centre, Raul Sunico, was to create a harmonious relationship among the country’s jazz figures and groups.

“With the establishment of so many of these ensembles, it is imperative for the CCP to provide a prestigious venue for our talents to perform and be discovered, to play and to listen, to seek a camaraderie with which to collaborate with other groups, and to help propagate this wonderful musical genre for everyone to enjoy,” Sunico said.

“Through the festival, CCP hopes to bring the Philippines into the mainstream of global jazz activity and make it a legitimate and recognized venue for International Jazz Festivals.”

Just days prior to the festival, Wang performed at the second Philippine International Jazz & Blues Guitar Festival, also held in Manila.

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