Penang Island Jazz Festival

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Country and Region MalaysiaPenang
Type of Festival Music
Location of Festival Batu Ferringhi, Penang, Malaysia
Festival Contact Information

The Capricorn Connection
25-1, 1st Floor, Lorong Setiabistari 2
Damansara Heights,
50490 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Phone: +60 603-2093 4725
Fax: +60 603-2093 4726

Festival Description

The magic of music returns to the Tropical Island of Penang on the 29th of November till the 2nd of December with the 9th edition of The Penang Island Jazz Festival!

The past 8 editions of the festival with its “Outdoor” concert setting, fringe stages, workshops and other supporting activities has attracted a wide cross-section audience and established itself as a highly anticipated musical experience in the Region. This year’s festival will begin with “Sundown @ TSG” on the evening of Thursday, 29th November 2012, an experimental event introduced last year which received great response! Sundown @ TSG will again this year feature selected Malaysian performers in the exotic setting of The Tropical Spice Gardens.

The festival’s main stage performances for its “Jazz By The Beach” programme will once again feature local and international performers. The acts performing on this year’s “Jazz By The Beach Stage” are “Martin Taylor”, “Butterscotch”, “Kekko Fornarelli Trio featuring Ruso Sala”, “The Deans”, “Albatrosh”, “TheArtOfFusion”, “Francesca Han Trio”, “Estudiantina Ensemble”, “Madeline Bell & Hans Vroomans Trio”, “Mezzotono”, “Bittersweet” and “Elvira Arul & The Acoustic Souls”.

A number of other supporting musical activities will also be held within the festival’s four day period to maintain the festival’s intention of creating a “total music festival experience” such as the afternoon “Creative Malaysia Programme” held on 3 different Fringe Stage venues (Bayview Beach Resort, Hard Rock Hotel and ParkRoyal Penang Resort), Workshops, The Island Jazz Forum, Jazz Gallery Exhibition of Posters, Photographs, Paintings and Percussions, “Jazz With A Heart” Charity Dinner, the “10 minute” Platform, Creative Malaysia Programme, Community Drum Circle and After Hours Jazz Jam.

Festival Dates November 29 - December 2, 2012
Festival Links

Festival Story:

The initial Penang Island Jazz Festival which began in 2004 has seen a steady growth through the years. From a 2 day/1 stage event with performances on 1 Main Stage, to 5 Fringe Stages, 1 Sundown Stage and a number of supporting activities. The Annual Music Festival has served to establish the Festival as a highly anticipated event in the Region attracting a wide cross-section audience from walks of life from all over Malaysia and the Asia Pacific Region.


Festival Events:

Main Stage — Jazz By The Beach Lineup 2012:
  • Saturday, December 1, 2012
    • 6:30pm – 7:10pm, Bittersweet
    • 7:20pm – 8:00pm, Albatrosh
    • 8:10pm - 8:50pm, Mezzotono
    • 9:00pm – 9:40pm, Madeline Bell & Hans Vroomans Trio
    • 9:50pm – 10:30pm, The Deans
    • 10:40pm – 11:20pm, TheArtOfFusion
  • Sunday, December 2, 2012
    • 6:30pm – 7:10pm, Elvira Arul & Acoustic Souls
    • 7:20pm – 8:00pm, Francesca Han Trio
    • 8:10pm – 8:50pm, Martin Taylor
    • 9:00pm – 9:40pm, Butterscotch
    • 9:50pm – 10:30pm, Kekko Fornarelli Trio Featuring Ruso Sala
    • 10:40pm – 11:20pm, Estudiantina Ensemble
Artist profiles 2012:
  • Bittersweet
    • Home after a 5 year stint in New Delhi, Bittersweet, the husband and wife duo of Frankie and Siriporn Rozells first performed together for a short while during the early 1980s before renewing their musical connection in 1999 covering the Bangkok circuit which included performances in Brown Sugar, Saxophone Club and also in Hanoi, Vietnam. Frankie, the eldest son of one of Penang’s most illustrious musicians of the 1940s-1960s era , Hawaiian Guitarist - Joe Rozells, started his musical journey by playing in his father’s band before moving on to being the Lead Guitarist of one of Penang’s top bands in the 1960s – “The Equinox”. His journey has also seen him performing with various groups over the years in Malaysia, Thailand, Germany, Sweden and Holland. Siriporn’s musical path has seen her working as a session singer, providing backing vocals to artists such as Karavan and Carabao (Aad Carabao) and has also released 2 albums. With Siriporn’s haunting vocals supported by Frank’s melodic guitar playing style, Bittersweet has developed their own interpretative distinctive musical sound based on a minimalistic acoustic set-up. Accompanying the duo on stage is Penang born keyboard player, Michael Kay.
  • Albatrosh
    • Albatrosh is a Norwegian duo consisting of two young jazz musicians; André Roligheten (saxophones) & Eyolf Dale (piano) whose music operates within the jazz genre in a kind of chamber-musical sound. The material is based on original compositions by Dale/Roligheten with plenty of room for improvisation, where the essence is how they combine the composed with the improvised. After winning the prestigious JazzIntro “Young Jazz Musicians of the year” award in 2008, Albatrosh released their debut album “Seagull Island” (InnerEar) and in 2009 with a second album “Mystery Orchestra with Grenager & Tafjord” which featured cellist Lene Grenager and horn player Hild Sofie Tafjord to great reviews. They won the prestigious 1st prize “Best Band” in the European Jazz Competition at North Sea Jazz 2009 and have played in the majority of Norwegian festivals - Molde Jazz Festival, Oslo Jazz Festival and PUNKT, as well as 12 Points! in Dublin, Shanghai Arts Festival and have also toured USA and most of Europe.
  • Mezzotono
    • Founded in 2004, Mezzotono - (“Small Italian Orchestra Without Instruments”) comprising of Fabio Lepore (tenor), Daniela Desideri (soprano), Francesca Leone (mezzo soprano), Marco Giuliani (baritone) and Andrea Maurelli (bass) have made several prominent Italian television appearances and performed hundreds of concerts in theatres and festivals all over Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. Mezzotono combines music with culture and the originality of the performance is evident in their repertoire which consists solely of defining Italian music and varies from songs in barese dialect to some classic songs of the Italian tradition sprinkled with some familiar tunes. The musical delivery by these versatile five vocal interpreters often portrays a very different impact from the original version because of the unpredictable and sometimes comical approach in their own musical arrangement and style.
  • Madeline Bell & Hans Vroomans Trio
    • New Jersey native, Madeline Bell started out as a gospel singer, toured America and Europe with the successful show “Black Nativity” in 1962 with “The Alex Bradford Singers” before embarking on a solo recording career in England. Working as a session singer, Madeline provided vocal backing for Cliff Richard, Tom Jones, Scott Walker, Long John Baldry, Joe Cocker, Elton John amongst many others and also on soundtracks to films including “A Touch Of Class”, and “The Greek Tycoon”. Madeline’s impressive musical journey also included being a member of “Blue Mink” in the early ‘70s with whom she had a number of hits, touring with the James Last orchestra and performing on numerous occasions with BBC’s Big Band. In 1999, Madeline was presented with an award by The International Alliance For Women In Music and in 2003, was honoured with a LIFETIME ACHEIVEMENT AWARD by the Music Heritage Foundation for her significant and outstanding contribution to the music industry. Together with Madeline on stage is Pianist - Hans Vroomans, Frits Landesbergen on Drums and Bass Player Frans Van Geest.
  • The Deans
    • Formed in 2007, The Deans consisting of Gavin Dean, Gary Keon and Ronan Lally hail from the west of Ireland. Since 2009 The Deans have toured extensively throughout Europe, playing venues and festivals throughout France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Holland. After being sighted at the Guitare-En-Scene festival in France by the organisers of the Montreux Jazz Festival, the group were invited to perform at the 43rd anniversary of the world renowned music festival. Their music was used for the advertising campaign for both festivals that same year. Gavin Dean, vocalist, guitarist and songwriter is the creative force behind the band, delivering songs depicting a life of constant movement and discovery. Drummer, Gary Keon, is pivotal in the story of the band since the beginning with his heavy drumming pulse and soaring vocal ability. Ronan Lally, bassist and vocalist, joined the group in September of 2011 contributing greatly to the band’s musical style of “Creative Roots Blues/Rock” with his distinctive vocal harmonies and steady bass style.
  • TheArtOfFusion
    • The brainchild of Hang-Player/Vocalist Rafael Sotomayor which he founded in 2006 is steadily gaining recognition as a vanguard music project of the new generation by gathering musicians of very different musical and cultural backgrounds from all over the world and merging the various musical genres in a combination of fluent melodies with stirring rhythms. The soul of the group is the Hang-Instrument played by Rafael Sotomayor which is incorporated in musical styles such as Afro-Beat, Chillout, Reggae, Latin-Rock and Jazz, supported by Tomek Witiak (Guitar), Marc-Inti (Bass), Benno Sattler (Drums) and Lorenzo Dolce (Saxophone). TheArtOfFusion has performed in varied and different configurations at many festivals all over the world sharing in the belief on bringing people together through the power of their music.
  • Elvira Arul & Acoustic Souls
    • While “soulful” best describes Elvira Arul, the songstress, is as they say “a lady with a voice that tells a story through song”. This bubbly lass comes with a lethal combination of the 5P’s - power, passion, pizzazz, personality and panache. Having dabbled in various genres and paying tribute to childhood idols, Elvira, who performed in the Penang Island Jazz Festival’s Fringe Stage in 2007, might possibly have finally found her element. Singing her way in to the hearts of audiences over the years, this storyteller has been known to calm the troubled mind and ease the burdened soul with the very first note she belts. In her performance, you will hear elements of her Soul, Jazz, Rock, and Funk roots showing in every fibre of her being as she graduates from the Fringe to the Main stage of the Penang Island Jazz Festival with her backing group - The Acoustic Souls, with Dean on guitar, Florian on cello and Rohnie Tan on violin
  • Francesca Han Trio
    • Pianist Francesca Han’s music captures both the subtle affectivity of classical music and the uninhibited effusiveness of rock. Having studied both, she has now developed an approach to jazz that leaves a foot planted in tradition while reaching for unique expression. After achieving rapid success in her native Korea, she was encouraged to move to New York City in 2004 where she received her master’s degree in jazz performance from Queens College. She continues to perform classical concerts across the country and plays with various jazz groups at numerous other clubs throughout the New York metropolitan region. Her performance with the quartet Jayu at Jamaica Center won critical claim for its blend of jazz and traditional Korean music by New York Daily News. With her eponymous debut album (Francesca Han on M.M. Records) and her new album (Illusion on Audioguy in 2012) Francesca’s playing is characterized by an intimacy that transcends musical boundaries. Francesca, who has played with her trio at Jarasum Jazz festival and Taichung Jazz festival in recent years, will be accompanied by Lee SoonYong on bass and Cho Nam Youl on drums.
  • Martin Taylor
    • Award winning guitarist MARTIN TAYLOR has established a unique musical career as an internationally acclaimed musician, and his inimitable style has seen him recognized as the world’s foremost exponent of solo jazz guitar playing. Collaborations with artists including Stephane Grappelli, Jeff Beck, Tommy Emmanuel, Bill Wyman, Chet Atkins, Dianne Schuur and Gary Burton have seen him garner two honorary doctorates, a BBC lifetime achievement award, Top 10 albums in both the USA and Europe, a record 14 British Jazz Awards and in 2002 he was appointed MBE ‘For Services to Jazz Music’ by Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain.
  • Butterscotch
    • Butterscotch is a singer/beatboxer, who incorporates her musical background of piano, guitar and bass into her compositions and performances. Heavily influenced by jazz, classical, hip hop and R&B; artists, ranging from Frederic Chopin to John Coltrane to Stevie Wonder, Butterscotch is most popularly known for her appearance on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” as a finalist. Prior to America’s Got Talent, Butterscotch claimed titles as both the first International World Female Beatbox Champion and the West Coast Beatbox Champion for both genders. Her incredible talent has led her in performing with music legends Earth, Wind & Fire, Chick Corea, Lenny White, Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller amongst others and being featured on albums by SMV (Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten) and on George Benson’s “Song’s & Stories”. Butterscotch has performed all over the United States and in Europe appearing at many Music and Jazz Festivals including the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival continuing to live her dream of touching the world with her music.
  • Kekko Fornarelli Trio Featuring Ruso Sala
    • The KEKKO FORNARELLI TRIO are Kekko Fornarelli – Piano & Synth; Luca Alemanno - Double bass and Dario Congedo – Drums. Kekko began learning classical piano at the age of three and his love for jazz music began at the age of 18 and from there on, Kekko has immersed himself in the study of the instrument, the style, and the music which has lead him to be recognized as one of the most widely appreciated young pianists internationally. His unique style is characterized by its attempt to create music to observe, more than just to listen to - A way to tell stories, emotions and situations. The collaboration between two talented artists resulted in the project Mar endins Quartet : the Catalan songwriter Rusó Sala Koperdraat and the Italian jazz pianist Kekko Fornarelli. Fornarelli has re-arranged the voice and guitar solos by Rusó for this excellent quartet, enriching every tune with a peerless strength. Two diverse worlds are joined in this innovative experiment: the Catalan ethnic song writing, inspired by traditions of the Mediterranean on one side, and an experimental and innovative jazz on the other.
  • Estudiantina Ensemble
    • The Estudiantina Ensemble was founded by leader/guitarist/vocals Ricardo Bekema in 2001, with the objective of maintaining the authentic Cuban Traditional Guaracha, Bolero, Danzón and Son styles that were performed by estudiantina groups that were popular in the eastern region of Cuba during the late 19th century. In 2007, the ensemble received an invitation from Buena Vista Social Club-member Eliades Ochoa to play on the legendary stages of the prestigious ‘Festival de la Trova Pepe Sanchez’ in Santiago de Cuba and since then have performed in many festivals all over the world. Other members of the group include Eric “Derecho de Nacer” Wijngaarde - percusion menor/vocals, Carlos Francinet - percusion menor/vocals, Alexander Rodriguez Cala – trumpet, Marcos Antonio Betancourt Ramírez - baroque timpani (pailas criollas), Leo “Pantaléon” Martis - tres (segundo), Ernesto Paz Rivero - double bass and Anurakt Scheepers - tres (primer).


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Practical Info:

Slideshow photo credits:
  • In order of appearance
    • Albatrosh
    • Bittersweet
    • Butterscotch
    • Elvira Arul
    • Francesca Han
    • Estudiantina Ensemble
    • Kekko Fornarelli Trio Featuring Ruso Sala
    • Madeline Bell
    • Martin Taylor
    • Mezzotono
    • Rafael Sotomayor playing the “hang drum” from TheArtofFusion
    • TheArtofFusion
  • Bayview Beach Resort Gardens
    Batu Ferringhi, Penang


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