theborneopost | Borneo Jazz Festival starts with beach-cleaning

MIRI: Internationally acclaimed Borneo Jazz Festival (BJF) kicked off yesterday with cleaning the beach at Luak Bay Esplanade in collaboration with Miri City Council to conserve the environment and beautify the city.

Media representatives from around the world who had come here for BJF joined in the activity.

“It’s great to see that where there is a pertinent need, this greening project will fill it, as beaches in Miri have begun to get international attention, particularly for its Blue Tears phenomenon.

“This greening project is a great way for us to work together as a community without barriers. We labour to clean this beach today using our two hands, in the process becoming ambassadors of nature. We will do our part to help keep Miri City clean, beautiful and healthy,” Miri Deputy Mayor Julaihi Mohammad said when officiating at the ceremony.

Julaihi who represented Mayor Adam Yii at the event said Miri is the only major town in Sarawak with a long stretch of beautiful beaches right in the city centre.

He commended Sarawak Tourism Board for ensuring the cleanliness of the beach was taken care of.

“We should encourage the local community here, especially the younger generation, to get involved in this outreach programme – not just representatives of the organiser and the local and international media fraternity,” Julaihi said.

He suggested future activities such as ‘gotong-royong’ with villagers nearby, and cleanliness awareness programmes with students and teachers of schools in the surrounding area.

“Through such programmes, we remind the local community on the importance of keeping the environment clean, rather than let other people take care of our environment,” he said.

Sarawak Tourism Board director of events and corporate relations Angelina Bateman was present at the beach cleaning.

Borneo Jazz, organised by STB, is an annual international event that is part of Miri May Fest.

Eight bands from around the world will be performing at the two-day festival: Idang Rasjidi Syndicate (Indonesia), The Cape Jazz Band (South Africa), Michael Simon’s Asian Connection (Netherlands/Taiwan/Malaysia), Osaka Monaurail (Japan), Fluoroscent Collective (Malaysia, USA, India, Italy), Laila Biali (Canada), Delgres (Guadaloupe/France) and Cabocuba Jazz (Netherlands).

To foster interest in jazz music, especially among the younger generation, STB will be holding several youth programmes during BJ2017.

The BJ2017 youth programme performers include Zuhaili Quartet from the National Academy of Arts, Culture and Heritage (Aswara), Miri Orchestra and Choir Society, Chung Hua Marching Band, and Riam Road Secondary School Bruins Marching Band.

There will also be an outreach programme conducted in collaboration with Miri Music Centre. These workshops open to all are free-of-charge.

The four workshops for the two-day event include ‘Make Me Hip!’ on contemporary keyboard styles by James Boyle from Aswara College from 2pm on May 12.

On the same day, a drumkit and percussion ‘concert clinic’ titled ‘I Got Rhythm!’ will be conducted by Cabocuba Jazz’s Nils Fisher and Armando Vidal at 4pm.

On May 13, a keyboard class on the art of improvisation titled ‘I Want to Break Free!’ will be conducted by Michael Veerapen from Michael Simon Asian Connection at 9.30am.

At 11.30am, Michael Simon and Terry Hsieh from Michael Simon Asian Connection will conduct the final workshop titled ‘Blow Your Horn’ – a brass instrument class that focuses on tone production and basic techniques.

More than 5,000 jazz lovers are expected to attend BJ2017.

Surveys from last year’s show showed an attendance of 4,000 with an estimated economic spin-off of RM8 million and media mileage worth RM10 million.

It is estimated that about 40 per cent of the crowd were non-Malaysians.