Jazzing it up in style

Friday, 15 October 2010 20:23 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Time to toe tap at Mt. Lavinia Hotel

From the roots of African Americans rose a form of music that combines the different eclectic forms of music into one and performed in full swing, which was later defined as ‘jazz.’ From its humble beginnings jazz has risen to become a power house in the music industry creating legends, touching all heart strings of people around the world.

By Cheranka Mendis

 Here in Sri Lanka, miles away from Southern United States, jazz has made its mark and it is here to stay. Though the type of music has been in existence for some time and people over the years have enjoyed it, Mount Lavinia Hotel is yet again talking pains to introduce the music to the locals under the tunes made by international artists.

 An annual event, ‘Jazz at the Mount’ as it is titled, is held for the second consecutive year and will take full form this evening. The event which, kicked started its lines yesterday, has been organised by the hotel to promote Mount Lavinia Hotel (MLH) as Sri Lanka’s jazz hotspot for local and international travellers. With artists from Australia, United Kingdom, India, Hong Kong and French/ Cameroon as well as our own local musicians will partake in this spellbinding event.

 General Manager of MLH Anura Dewapura stated that while the main objective is to promote Mount Lavinia as a jazz hotspot in Sri Lanka, he also hopes that the festival would help in building up a positive image of the country, and “develop a world class event intend to create an iconic event so that Sri Lanka will be in the headlines soon.”

 “We also hope to promote the country to niche travellers that believe in leisure entertainment. The event would also enhance opportunities to build strong and productive tri-partnerships with business entities and stakeholders that believe in the objective so that they also will be showcased across the spectrum,” Dewapura said. He stated that an influx of jazz travellers are around South Asia especially from Bombay, Delhi and Madras and festivals such as ‘Jazz at the Mount’ would be able to get them down to Sri Lanka.

 Being a jazz fan himself, Dewapura assures that the event is far bigger and better this year around with over 2000 guests expected whereas last year the festival only attracted a crowd of about 800 participants. Dewapura also has managed to get two restaurants down the line Palm Beach and Berjaya to take part on the festival as well.

 Bands have their say

 Rodney Van Heer of Norma n Jazz Quintet (Sri Lanka)

“It is a good opportunity for local musicians to interact with other foreign jazz bands. The festival also creates an opportunity promote good music in the country. It is a bold initiative and one that will surely grow within the next few years.”

 Andrew Oh of OhZone Jazz Septet (Australia)

“It is an honor and privilege to be here. I came to Sri Lanka six years ago with another band and I love this country and its people and it is an absolute pleasure to be here. We will be playing fusion, R&B and smooth jazz mix up.

 Frank Dubier of Frank Dubier Jazz Quintel (India)

“At last year’s performance we saw a huge crowd and we expect the crowd to be bigger and better this year. It is a pleasure to perform with so many artists and I am looking forward for the jam session. We will be playing a mix of mainstream, funk and Latin. We also look forward in introducing our pianist Benedict David who is blind, but amazing.”

 Dave O’Higgins of Dave O’Higgins Jazz Quartet (UK)

 “I was here in 2007 when a much smaller scale festival was held in the pool terrace with an audience of about 200 people. I am therefore thrilled to be here as a repeating tourist. I love the food here- the cuisine is incredible. I am very much looking forward to the festival. We will be playing modern jazz as well as a few of my originals, one made especially for the event.”

Pix by Dinuka Liyanawatte