The World Youth Jazz Festival aspires to make a bigger splash this year in its third instalment.
YOUTH. Jazz. Not two words you would usually find paired together, but the World Youth Jazz Festival (WYJF) – held on May 2-4 every year – is cultivating a beautiful friendship between young people and the sophisticated sounds of jazz.
WYJF, founded by Datuk Nik Azmi, started in 2012 under a joint initiative by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Jazz Community Malaysia and Jazz Ampang. This year, the festival will be held at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre, which will host the annual festival for the next five years.
The lineup for WYJF 2014 is bristling with quality entertainment: local names like Lokman Aslam and Mazlina A Manan & Red Velvet sit alongside international acts like the Bavarian State Youth Orchestra, Japanese alto saxophonist Yukiko Onishi and the Claude Diallo Trio.
These names are – if we’re to be completely honest – generally unfamiliar to the average Malaysian teenager or young adult. This is precisely why WYJF was born: to move jazz away from the assumption that it’s for the older crowd and make it more accessible to the youth.
The festival aims to provide a platform for the youth of the world to showcase their talents and also, for them to come together to promote world peace and harmony via jazz.
Supporting WYJF are local jazz communities such as Jazz TTDI and Jazz Ampang, who will host smaller events dubbed “The Road to WYJF 2014”, featuring local artistes and bands.
This year, WYJF will feature an exhibition by Lorong Seni, a local community of young and creative minds. Lorong Seni’s exhibition promises to be as eclectic and creative as the people behind it, including musical instrument dealers, pop bazaars, art demos and more.
With a list of youthful jazz performers and the vibrant exhibition, the festival promises to be an arts extravaganza, and judging by the response it has garnered over the past two years, it seems to be gaining traction among the youth.
Before the big show, though, is the International Jazz Day celebration, held on April 30 all over the country by different jazz-loving communities.
A Celebration Of Jazz 2014 by the Penang Philharmonic will be held at The Star Northern Hub, George Town, Penang. In Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, there’s Mango Jazz Night, held on April 30 as well as May 1, at the Dewan Resital, Jalan UMS. Mango Jazz Night is a music workshop featuring the likes of Yuichiro Tokuda and JACKFRUIT.