M'sian performers to dominate KK Jazz Fest
Published on: Sunday, July 09, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: Acclaimed Malaysian jazz performers are to dominate the 11th edition of the Kota Kinabalu Jazz Festival 2017 (KKJF) on July 21-22, including Kangkung Belacan's jazz piano prodigy Alton Wong who won first place at the 2017 Malaysia Jazz Piano Festival.The event was launched at PACIFICITY Sales Gallery at Wisma Hakka, here, as the property developer is a sponsor this year. KKJF is listed in the Sabah Tourism calendar.

Asked on the difference between the KKJF and the Miri International Jazz Festival boasting of big names, famous performers, SPArKS President Roger Wang said the KKJF is organised around the local music scene whereas the Miri event was staged for drawing tourists to the Sarawak city.

SPArKS (Society of Performing Arts Kota Kinabalu, Sabah) aims at advancing performing arts such as music, dance, drama, films, comedy, opera, magic, acrobatics, marching arts like brass band and theatre, and promoting public interest for them.

With the Rotary Club of Kota Kinabalu, they organised the only not-for-profit jazz festival – KKJF – in Malaysia and the proceeds from ticket sales to fund deserving community projects. KK Rotary Club President M. Ravi is focusing on cataract avoidance blindness campaign this year.

One of the KKJF objectives is to create a tourism event for both tourists and locals to enjoy.

Another is to provide budding local Sabahan bands a platform to perform in an international festival and to exchange their talents with international artistes at the festival.

Daphne Iking will emcee the event again this year.

Roger, co-chairman of the festival, said the festival this year will feature three international bands and musicians, together with nine award-winning Malaysian talents and bands that will join the line-up for the exciting two-night concert.

Out of 12 listed performances, only three are from overseas – Good Messenger from Taiwan, Origen from Spain and Shun Ng & The Shunettes (Singapore/USA). Another band – Nafas - is said to comprise performers from Ireland and Malaysia.

The line-up of performers for the festival this year in alphabetical order are:

1. Borneo Big Band (Malaysia): Led by Tamparuli-born Joan Jim, this ensemble of highly talented Sabahan musicians will amaze you with their repertoire of sophisticated jazz, dance and Latin music.

2. Dasha Logan (Malaysia): Daughter of legendary Alleycats member Loganathan.

Her single 'Cleverly' went to Number 1 in the UK Soul Charts.

3. Dominant 5th of Borneo (Malaysia): Known as D5OB, this Sabahan pop fusion band represented Malaysia at the Yamaha Music's Asian Beat Competition in Japan.

4. Good Messenger (Taiwan): Led by Taiwan national saxophone competition winner, Dr William Chien, this ensemble of top Taiwanese musicians performs a mix of jazz, blues, gospel, and classical.

5. Gordon Chin (Malaysia): Gordon won the Penang International Fingerstyle Competition 2016 and landed an endorsement deal with Lindsay Marcus Guitars.

6. Kangkung Belacan (Malaysia): Sabahan Jazz piano prodigy – Alton Wong, is back from winning first place at the 2017 Malaysia Jazz Piano Festival. Also featuring multi-talented group – BEZA and jazz violinist, Joanna Ho.

7. Nafas (Ireland/Malaysia): Combining pentatonic traditions of the East, soulful bluesy tone and contemporary dub-style arrangements, Nafas conjures a future world-jazz, dub-soul synergy.

8. Origen (Spain): The first authentic Spanish Flamenco Ensemble to perform in Sabah.

Pure flamenco music coupled with its famous dance structure. A must attend for all dance lovers.

9. Rainbow Children (Malaysia): This passionate union of 10 stellar musicians is Asia's first and only Prince-inspired tribute band.

10. Rozella (Malaysia): Winner of Tiger Jams 2016, this Sabahan singer-songwriter latest single 'Home to You' was handpicked for an exclusive remix by Scottish synth pop band Chvrches.

11. Sada Borneo (Malaysia): Asia's Got Talent 2015 finalists who brought the Bornean traditional sound to an international stage.

12. Shun Ng & The Shunettes (Singapore/USA): This fingerstyle guitarist, vocalist and acclaimed international performer is back! This time with the Shunettes and featuring Malaysian finalist in the 3rd Season of The Voice of China 2014, Melody Tan.

The festival's doors open at 6pm and ends at 11pm each night on July 21-22.

Organising chairman Rtn Jack Ong thanked the sponsors and said:

"Apart from the charities that will gain, the objectives of the festival are to provide budding local Sabahan bands a platform to showcase their talents during an international festival, collaborate with international artistes at the festival and to create a tourism event for both tourists and locals to enjoy."

Meanwhile, as past of PACIFICITY's initiative to promote and sponsor the KKJF, 100 tickets to the Festival are up for grabs by liking PACIFICITY Facebook page ( with contact details.

"PACIFICITY is proud to sponsor the 11th KK Jazz Festival 2017 and to be part of this exciting event.

At PACIFICITY, we believe in developing local talents and we are committed to continuously support the Government's initiatives in cultivating arts and culture here in Sabah," said PACIFICITY Managing Director Jonathan Wheeler. - David Thien


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