It’s only the second edition of the Delhi Jazz Festival but the anticipation around the fest this year is running sky high. With the fest just two days away, the phones at the organisers’ offices can’t stop ringing for passes and it’s a bemused Sanjeev Bhargava who answers every call with great patience. After all, Bhargava, the creative director of the fest, has always kept Seher events democratic by having a free entry system and the main hosts ICCR have done their own bit in promoting an international level cultural scenario in the city.
For the Delhi Jazz Fest too, hosted by ICCR in collaboration with Seher, the line up is extremely promising with nine bands from across the globe slated to perform at the open air venue of Nehru Park in New Delhi. The participating jazz bands are Wojtek Majolewski Quintet (Poland), HFT (India), The Louiz Banks Matrixx (India), Dini Virsaladze Quartet (Georgia), Moonarra (India), EOL Trio (France), Magos Herrera (Mexico), Bica-Daerr-Stick Trio (Germany) and Elkano Browning Cream (Spain).
Says Suresh Goel, DG, ICCR: “The first Delhi Jazz Festival last year was witnessed by about 10,000 people in Nehru Park and inspired us to host the event at the same venue. The festival’s success was testimony to the fact that the Delhi audience has an eclectic taste for music.”
What’s more not only is the festival open for all, the fact that the performances on all the three days will be webcast live on Seher’s website will make the event truly global. “While there were nearly 10,000 people who attended the fest, almost 8,500 people in 21 countries watched this first ever live web cast of a cultural event held in India last year,” says Bhargava.
And the numbers this time are bound to grow as the opening act is by none other than Wojtek Mazolewski, Polish composer, musician, double bass player and bass guitarist. Founder of Pink Freud and the Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet, the Gdańsk native has been making music for as long as he can remember. He started off with a determinedly punk rock style in his youth and has grown to become one of the most significant musicians on the contemporary jazz scene in Poland and a pioneer of Yass, a locally-bred style of music distinguished by an emphasis on improvisation, blending elements of jazz, punk rock and folk.
The second band on the opening day is the Indian band HFT who play a style of music that could easily be called world jazz, jazz that is urbane and savvy, a well-travelled, warm music that is equally at ease being in the sun as resting in the shade. Arjun Sen is the mellifluous melody maker on the guitar, Lew Hilt is the funky bass line plucker and creator of psychedelia in songs, and Suchet Malhotra is the beat-keeper on drums brought from as far as the fields of Peru and Ghana.
Then there is Dini Virsaladze, a famous Georgian pianist, born in Tbilisi (Republic of Georgia), who studied piano at Tbilisi Music School for Gifted Children and appeared before the audience as a jazz pianist and a composer for the first time in 1993. The same year she participated in Novosibirsk Jazz Festival that significantly changed the life of the young musician. She has since then performed in numerous jazz clubs and cafés and appeared in various TV shows. Composer Nukri Abashidze says: “Dini’s music is characteristic of beautiful melody, rich harmony and high spirituality. She belongs to unique female jazz musicians and is an exceptional composer, as well as an excellent improviser and an outstanding performer with unique skills.”
It is Mexican jazz singer Magos Herrera, who sings in Spanish, English and Portuguese, who is bound to blow your mind away. Blending elements from various traditions, she is known for stretching the very notion of jazz singing, pushing past the diva pleasantries into a sound that’s bold, thrilling and effortlessly global. Born in Mexico City, the captivating performer and Grammy nominee for best vocal jazz, Herrera is considered one of the most beautiful voices and the most active vocalist of contemporary Latin American jazz scene.
That is not all. There is India’s most well-known jazz band, The Louiz Banks Matrixx, EOL Trio from France, Bica-Daerr-Stick Trio from Germany and Elkano Browning Cream from Spain whose presence will only add more to the festival.
For schedule of Delhi Jazz Festival 2012, starting March 16-18 at Nehru Park, New Delhi from 6.30 p.m onwards, log on to www.sehernow.in
Poonam Goel is a freelance journalist and has covered the arts for over 15 years. She contributes on visual arts for various newspapers, magazines and online media. More about her on Story Wallahs. Write to her @ email@example.com