Miri Trip 2014: My Encounter with the Borneo Jazz Festival 2014 (Day 2)


Warning: If you haven't read up on Day 1 of the Borneo Jazz Festival yet, please read it first because otherwise a lot of the things here in this post won't really make a lot of sense. Continuity and all that. 

I last left you after a night of hard partying and dancing to DJ Roundhead's club set. I went to sleep at about 3AM that night because the music filled my mind. That or I wanted to dance some more. I'm not really sure. I spent the rest of the next day wandering about like a zombie and trying to keep myself awake. I missed breakfast, which surprised almost everyone and dozed off for lengthy periods during the morning's press conference, which no doubt cemented me as a distinguished and professional journalist. 

Not that it mattered though, because once the night came, I instantly became more active than a night owl looking for its prey. In this analogy, the night owl is me and my prey was the sweet, sweet music I craved for.

The second night of the Borneo Jazz Festival began with ethnic jazz band YK Samarinda from Indonesia. 

With a delightful mix of ethnic Kalimantan songs and the jazzy rhythm, the band brought out the animal in the crowd. They used plenty of props and traditional instruments (like the sape shown in the picture below) to bring out a distinct and uniquely flavored jazz performance.

Next up were the boys from Georgia, Iriao. Displaying a mix of Georgian folk music and jazz, the boys warmed up the crowd with their vocals.

Similar to YK Samarinda before them, they also used a lot of Georgian instruments to give more flavor and layers to their performance. One of my only grouses about Iriao's performance that night was that the drums were slightly too loud, covering up their voices for most parts. It's their voices which make Iriao such a fantastic group to listen to; I know because I went for their special workshop just that afternoon, and I was suitably impressed by how well their vocals worked with the Georgian folk music.

Singer-songwriter-pianist Anthony Strong took the reins next, coming on stage with his band dressed up in a smart suit despite the Miri weather being seven kinds of hot and stuffy.

Hotly dubbed as the next Michael Bublé, a title he modestly doesn't like to claim, Anthony Strong sang a lot of his original compositions like Cheek to Cheek and appropriately chosen Too Darn Hot as well as a few covers like L.O.V.E. Midway through his performance, he also stopped to take a selfie with the crowd.

I like to think that the reason Anthony Strong whipped out his phone to take a selfie was because the bunch of us kept asking him to take selfies with us after the press conference just that morning, one of which he posted up on his Instagram account. Yup, we somehow incited a selfie streak within Anthony Strong. 

The final performance of the night was by the group from Germany, Brassballett. 

As you may have already deduced from their name, Brassballett plays their instruments WHILE DANCING at the same freaking time. These choreographed dance-and-music performances certainly live up to expectations, because it was easily the most enjoyable thing I've watched.

Pictures can't really show how awesome their performance was. Here's a video of Brassballett performing the song Hotel California with their trademark choreography. Forgive the shaking of the camera. It was difficult to not be taken in by the feet tapping, body swayingly good music they were playing.

There's a few more of Brassballett's performances that I managed to record on my Youtube channel, so go check it out. Go on, I'll wait. Because if you don't, the next picture will make absolutely no sense to you at all.

The night wrapped up with all the performers coming back on stage and generally just grooving on stage together. You haven't seen a party until you've watched these guys all take the stage together and rock it out, jazz style.

 Nope, no innuendo there. 

Of course, while all the shenanigans were happening on stage, we were all busy partying offstage as well. It really was pretty difficult not to when all the different drummers were taking their turns giving the beat as their various band members were dancing and rocking out with the crowd.

See the Auntie above who is 200 kinds of awesome? Remember her from the first post? I didn't manage to get her name, but she introduced herself as the Auntie, which is why I'm calling her as such. Her name may be Auntie, but the way she grooved and moved throughout both nights was certainly befitting of a party animal. I couldn't even keep up with her, and even dancing machine Ana was left in awe of this Auntie. Auntie, if you ever get to read this, YOU ROCK!

The performances may have ended, but the night wore on, as the bands all converged for a jamming session. See, when you have several bands pooling together their talents and performing together on one stage, you know that you have a show on your hands.

And of course, as always, we ended the night at DJ Roundhouse's set, where we danced the night away because one cannot stop the sway of the music when it hits. True story.

I really enjoyed the entire Borneo Jazz Festival, all the music and dancing and singing and people. It was one of those concert festivals that will remain firmly lodged in my memory bank because it was really just that fun. I want to give the biggest thanks once again to the crazily accommodating and beautiful people at the Sarawak Tourism Board and AirAsia for flying me in to attend the Borneo Jazz Festival. I'm seriously hoping that I'll be back next year for the milestone 10th anniversary, because, why not?


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