Genting International Jazz Festival 2008 : Night 1

GIJF logo

Event: Genting International Jazz Festival 2008
Date: April 4, 2008 (Friday)
Venue: Genting International Showroom, Genting – City of Entertainment

There was no dillydallying at the 2008 Genting International Jazz Festival back in April. They went straight down to business and hit the right note with Junkofunc’s upbeat funk. There was no need for icebreakers or easing appetizers; the festival kicked start with contagious plucky bass and exploding percussion that got the crowd on their feet immediately.

Junkofunc reminds me a lot of KC and the Sunshine Band, and that song featured in Evolution. (Don’t mind me, as my brain draws blank of the song title).

Junkofunc @ GIJF.

The catchy rhythm of the lead guitar seemed to sing to us with its wah-wah vocals, accompanied by a harmonising family of saxophone, trombone, and trumpet, all of which blared right in your face and literally blew you away. I bow down to the awesomeness that is John Ashley Thomas, the percussionist: an adrenaline rushing set of scurry beats that resemble race horses running for the blue ribbon.

Ben Belinga @ GIJF.

A barefooted Ben Belinga clad in his traditional African costume came on and kept true to his words as he let his saxophone do the singing. The group brought forth an easygoing beat of smooth piano, cymbalic percussion and distorted chords, though in pieces yet with some strange magic, being together accordantly.

There was an African atmosphere in the air as Ben Belinga came on stage barefooted and clad in his traditional African costume. He kept true to his words as he let his saxophone do the singing with the tiptoeing bass, reenacting a quiet African night when the animals sleep and the trees sigh. When he clicked his tongue to a maracas beat with the jazzy piano, close your eyes, and see rain cleansing the wild lands of the animal kingdom. As the sun rises, hear the percussion go off like the roaring lions prowling for prey. It is messy, it is noisy, it is everything the wilderness should be. As the sax came alive once again with a familiar rhythm, visit the African tribe as they dance to the Rain God.

Diamond Dave & The Doodaddies @ GIJF.

Diamond Dave and the Doodaddies were a perfect example of the sayings “let the music heal your soul” and “sing your blues away”. They were evidence of cool dads who still can rock out a concert. They took over the stage with some conventional Blues/Country/Jazz. Skipping snares, wailing guitars, sensual harmonica, and a snapping bass. Much alike to the ever legendary Ray Charles. They took us back in time to the 50’s, when music was all about having fun and dancing your heart out. No hidden politics, no shallow materialisms, just a simple guy taking a simple girl out for a good night sealed with a sweet kiss.

Hamilton de Holanda @ GIJF.

Hamilton de Holanda was a big guy with a small instrument. He cradled his mandolin in his arms as if it were a fragile infant, and he strummed it with such precision. He did a solo with the craziest fingers I have ever seen. Licks that seemed to scurry up one’s neck along with the increasing rhythm and beat. But when Hamilton slowed things down, it was as romantic as a moonlight stroll in the secluded park, where you could just shut your eyes and dwell in a universe safe from all the harms of the world. Add a harmonica and things just became downright heart wrenching. They brought forth a sad tune hidden in the folds of Brazil with pitching notes and thrilling hums.

Hamilton worked with a band of complicated percussion and bass. Animated bears that are quick and detached, and would give your heartbeat a run of its money. Like the mandolin, the guitar is played with the quickest and most impossible way. Like the famous Brazilian footballers’ grace as they run about in the fields chasing after a ball, and twisting and turning to avoid their opponents.

Salsa Celtica @ GIJF.

A teasing yet spectacular finale for the first night to have Salsa Celtica wrap things up. Although by then it was already well past midnight but that didn’t dampen the audience’s spirit. You know things are just going to get insanely good when you add two genres of polar differences in the menu. It’s like scoring a super hot babe that actually has brains as well as epic tits. It was a blend of Cuba and Scotland, bringing you to two places at once that are 3 million miles apart.

With a traditional flute and violin to pave a Celtic background for a traditional Cubanese party tune packed with congas and toms. There was this Scottish cha-cha with the banjo and accordion and bagpipes that got the audience a-clapping and leprechauns a-leaping. It was mayhem, but a good one. And it felt like things had just started despite it being the end of the first half.

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