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Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival 2017

Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival 2017

Sarawak’s first ever Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival (KWJF) will be happening on the 29th and 30th September this year at the Grand Margherita Hotel Kuching. The 2-day jazz music festival will feature a total of 17 acclaimed jazz musicians and bands from all over the region. Among them are Sheila Majid (Malaysia), Ernie Watts (USA), Jeremy Monteiro (Singapore), Kunto Aji (Indonesia) and Shanghai Sisters (Malaysia).

Sheila Majid, dubbed Malaysia’s Queen of Jazz, has been in the Malaysian and international jazz arena for more than 30 years. She first soared to success with her 1986 song ‘Sinaran’ and it is still an evergreen favourite to this day. She achieved international stardom when she won the prestigious Indonesia BASF Award for Best Female Artiste in R&B category in 1987, never before done by a non-Indonesian. Her success in Indonesia was followed up with a 1988 nationwide tour which received an overwhelming response. Sheila then went on to spread her wings to Japan with the release of her 1988 multi-platinum selling album ‘Warna’. Since then, she has performed in many cities around the world and has released several more award-winning albums including ‘Legenda’, ‘Ku Mohon’ and ‘Cinta Kita’. Her 2017 album entitled ‘Boneka’, is her first studio album after 13 years. Her music has broken all age and racial barriers and she has and always will be a household name in Malaysia.

Ernie Watts, dubbed one of the greatest living tenor saxophonists of all time, is an American jazz musician who is one of the most versatile and creative saxophone players in music. Starting at the age of 13, the two-time Grammy Award-winning saxophonist has played jazz professionally for 50 years all over the globe. He has been featured on 500 recordings with different artistes and has even played on movie soundtracks for acclaimed hits such as Grease and The Color Purple. He has a total of 23 successful albums under his belt of which 8 were created under his own music label, Flying Dolphin Records. In 2014, he received the prestigious Frankfurt Music Prize given by the city of Frankfurt, Germany – an award given to classical and non-classical musicians and only 6 recipients have been jazz musicians. According to the Frankfurt Music Prize Foundation, Ernie was selected for his melodic saxophone style and original tone language that has enriched many generations of musicians. Other than performing with various bands all over the world, he also finds time to give back to music by conducting clinics and master classes for students and professionals. At this year’s Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival, Ernie will be playing with the Jeremy Monteiro Organ Trio.


Jeremy Monteiro is regarded as one of the foremost jazz pianists in Asia and has been referred to as Singapore’s King of Swing by the media. He has celebrated over 40 years of being a professional jazz musician and has more than 20 jazz albums under his belt as well as playing on numerous other jazz albums by other artistes including Ernie Watts. Jeremy is Visiting Chair of Jazz & Professor at Lasalle College of the Arts in Singapore and a Fellow of the London College of Music. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce in the UK, joining the ranks of other acclaimed RSA Fellows such as Charles Dickens, Nelson Mandela and Stephen Hawking. He has received the pinnacle award in Arts Achievement in Singapore, the Cultural Medallion, as the first jazz musician in Singapore to be given this accolade. Jeremy Monteiro will be performing in 2 separate sessions with his Organ Trio and Ernie Watts as well as with the Asian All Stars Power Quartet featuring Melissa Tham, both of which promises a show not to be missed at the Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival.


Kunto Aji, one of the youngest musicians to perform at KWJF, is a 30-year old musician from Indonesia. He became well known after being a finalist in Indonesia Idol in 2008 and has since released a slew of hit singles from his debut album Generation Y in 2015. Kunto Aji achieved numerous awards throughout 2015, such as the Breakthrough Artist of the Year on NET.’s Indonesian Choice Awards, and the Best Newcomer and Best Indonesian Song on Anugerah Planet Muzik 2015 in Singapore. The young and creative musician also delves in other fields of passion such as fashionwear. The talented singer has a bright future ahead of him and is expected to create a buzz in the Malaysian music scene after KWJF.


The Shanghai Sisters are Winnie Ho, Janet Lee and May Mow – sisters in voices and vivacity. Their repertoire of yesteryear songs will bring back nostalgia and memories of Old Shanghai, Grand Malaya, Romantic Hollywood and other halcyon memories. Winnie Ho, dubbed Malaysia’s Top Chinese Jazz Songstress, rose to fame after winning The Astro Talent Quest Champion in year 2000. Her performance in The Jazzy Sound of Teresa Teng concert circuit and studio album gained her much admiration and love from both the media and audience alike. To date she has a total of 8 albums with a mix of solo and group performances in her discography. Janet Lee is a cabaret performer with her own unique brand of music – a mix of Popular Mandarin Music of the 1920s and1950s, and American songbook show tunes. In 2012, she conceptualized and successfully realized “The Shanghai Jazz Songbook Tour” series with jazz pianist and arranger Hin Ee Jeng, performing to full houses at various celebrated jazz venues. In 2013, Janet and renowned jazz pianist and composer Tay Cher Siang created a new show entitled “Shanghai Jazz Redefined” for an international audience at the 7th Kota Kinabalu Jazz Festival. May Mow is a bilingual stage performer with alluring and magnetic pipes. May has appeared in competitions such as the Overtime Acoustic Challenge. She was the 2006 Top 5 Finalists in 8TV’s inaugural singing competition “绝对Superstar” and was invited to participate in following “8TV Ultimate Power Star 2011”. Her credentials in major concerts includes “In the Mood for Love”, “I Am A Hi Fi Singer” and “Opulent Sound of Shanghai”. She worked closely with Pop Music on her debut album titled “Flirtation – Passion – Reflection” which was released in April 2015.

Abdul and The Coffee Theory for Kuching

Among the other musicians and bands that will be performing during KWJF are Abdul and the Coffee Theory (Indonesia), Balawan Magic Fingers (Indonesia), Mellow Motif (Thailand), Andy Peterson (Malaysia) and many more.
Apart from giving prominence to the scenic Kuching Waterfront, KWJF also hopes to be a platform to inspire and nurture local music talents. The event also aims to encourage events and festivals in Sarawak to increase destination visibility and awareness. The inaugural festival is expected to garner local and international media coverage from Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and India. For the full programme and line-up, do visit Hotel packages and festival tickets can be purchased online at the website or at the Grand Margherita Hotel, Riverside Majestic Hotel or Place Borneo Sdn Bhd. For latest updates, do search Kuching Waterfront Jazz on Facebook and Instagram. Call +6082-555189 or email for further enquiries.


“This event is organized by Grand Margherita Hotel and managed by Place Borneo Sdn Bhd.”


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Telephone: +6082 555 189