The Philippine International Jazz Festival (PIJF) is back and is poised to reach greater heights for its 1th edition.
Ongoing until February 28, the 16-day festival will feature 50 local and foreign artists doing 40 sets of performances in 14 venues in and outside Metro Manila.
PIJF is an annual event organized by the Philippine International Jazz Festival Foundation headed by jazz singer Sandra Lim-Viray. This year’s edition will showcase international acts by artists from Germany, Israel, Norway, India, and the USA. Two of PIJF’s highlights are The International Jazz Gala on February 27 and P.I. Jazzfest Gala on February 28 at the Palasyo de Maynila.
Israel’s Ravid Kahalani arrives
Israeli singer Ravid Kahalani will bring “Yemen Blues” in an Israel-Philippines friendship concert during PIJF on February 25 at the 12 Monkeys Music Hall and Pub. Joining him is Filipina musician Nicole Laurel Asensio.
Born to a Jewish Yemeni family, singer, songwriter and producer Kahalani Kahalani is an important star in the Israeli music scene. His love for African-American soul and blues, roots music and traditional songs ignited his passion to perform. He has performed in over 150 shows with Yemen Blues, a group that he founded in 2010 with intense musicians from Tel Aviv, New York and Uruguay. Yemen Blues mixes Yemenite, West African and Jazz influences, and creates powerful mambo and North African rhythms with vocals reminiscent of ancient Arabic chants mixed with funk and blues.
Alongside the Jazz Festival, Kahalani will also bring Israel’s rhythm and blues to young Filipinos through lecture-workshops in the Far Eastern University on February 21, University of the Philippines Diliman on February 22 and University of Santo Tomas on February 23.
Fil-German collab debuts
On the other hand, German pianist and composer Florian Ross is set to perform in Manila for the first time through the invitation of the Goethe-Institut Philippinen, the German cultural center. He is based in Cologne, Germany.
Joining forces with Ross are local jazz mainstays Colby Dela Calzada (bass) and Michael Alba (drums). Together, they will perform as the “Fil-German Jazz Trio.” The three have never played as a group before and will be presenting all-new collaborative pieces in three performances. The Trio will play at the Café Hyatt City of Dreams on February 25 and at Palacio de Maynila on February 27 and 28.
Ross has been at the core of the German jazz scene for more than 20 years playing and writing music described as coming “from a deep synthesis of heart and mind, of feeling and intellect.”
On the side, Ross works with photography and design, and is an accomplished sound engineer, having recorded a number of albums both for himself and for others. He is also an active educator, teaching jazz courses at the prestigious Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln (University for Music and Dance) in Cologne.
Aside from the performances, Ross is also conducting a workshop on composition on February 26 at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Conservatory of Music. The workshop starts at 10 a.m. and is open to all young composers.