Above: The members of Shakatak.
Add jazz to the long list of things that make the Malaysian island of Penang so interesting. Launched in 2004, theÂ Penang Island Jazz Festival is held annually on the first weekend of December. This year’s festÂ counts among its headliners the legendary jazz/funk juggernaut Shakatak. Also watch for regional jazz artists like Malaysia’s own Liyana Fizi, who sprinkles folk and bossanova into her music.
The main “Jazz by the Beach” stage, in the garden of Bayview Beach Resort alongÂ Batu Ferringhi beach,Â will showcase Shakatak, Yuri Honing Wired Paradise, andÂ Ulf & Eric Wakenius, among others. Hotels around the island, including the G Hotel and the Hard Rock Hotel Penang, serve as other venues for the fest.
Also included are drum circles, jazz poetry, discussion forums, andÂ workshops and presentations, includingÂ an informal session of song and dialog with members of the ShakatakÂ on December 4. An exhibit will showcase the work ofÂ Ziga Koritnik, a photographer fromÂ Ljubljana-Slovenia known for his portraits of jazz musicians.
Click here for information on tickets (RM63 per day).