KUCHING: Sarawak can produce its own style of jazz music and present it to the world, says Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg.
He thus challenged all jazz musicians here to compose a unique blend of jazz music by fusing it with the sound of the local multi-indigenous music scene.
“We have the capacity to do so. While it is good to hear foreign bands playing jazz music here we too need to present our own blend of jazz music to the world,” he told a press conference about the upcoming 2012 Borneo Jazz festival to be held at Parkcity Everly Hotel in Miri from May 11-12.
The two-day show is organised by Sarawak Tourism Board Leisure and Properties, a subsidiary of STB and Tourism Ministry.
Abang Johari, who is also Housing Minister, said that for a start, jazz musicians might have to prove their talent before they could be selected to present the state at any level.
“We have personalities such as Bob, Hafiz and many others who have competed in the Akademi Fanstasia and who can contribute to the local music scene,” he added.
On Miri as the venue of the jazz festival, the minister said Miri was an ideal venue in keeping with its status as a resort city and its natural ambience by the sea.
“Also, Miri straddles Sabah and Brunei which have a sizeable number of expatriate populations who love jazz music.”
Meanwhile, STB chief executive officer Datuk Rahsid Khan said the (jazz) festival would be able to create an economic spin off to the tune of RM15 million to the local economy this year..
“It generated an income of RM13 million last year and we hope to record more this year,” he added.
He said the festival would be one of the best in Malaysia’s musical scene after its sister festival – the Rainforest World Music Festival.
On a separate issue, Rashid said STB would continue to work with colleges and universities in the internship and volunteer programme, which was initiated last year.
“Our aim to get the students to participate in the festivals and also to expose them to Sarawak’s cultures, adventure and nature,” he added.
This year, two students from NHTV Breda University Netherlands and another two from University of Arts UK, Taylors University KL and USCI University Kuching are included in the internship programme.
Among bands that have confirmed their participation in the jazz festival this year are New Cool Collective from the Netherlands, Schalk Joubert’s 3 Continents Sextet (South Afica), Nita Aartsen (Indonesia), SLIXS (Germany), Koh Mr Saxman and Takeshi Band (Thailand), Tangora (France), Tropic Green (Singapore) and F.V.E. Project (Malaysia).
Daily tickets are priced RM60 each for adults and RM30 for children 3 to 12 years. Tickets would be made available online from Feb 1.
Members of the public can log in to www.jazzborneo.com for more updates and information.