[PhotoSparks] International Women’s Day: a salute to the women musicians at Java Jazz Festival 2017!

Madanmohan Rao
8th Mar 2017
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PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In this photo essay, we showcase the outstanding women artistes at the annual Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta, Indonesia!

In the earlier 125 posts, we brought you a wide range of creative photographs from an art fair, world music festival, painting fair, telecom expo, art museum, mobile showcase, math museum, social hackathon, bookstore, co-working space, sensorium, international design week, flower show, outdoor ads, startup roadshow, computer museum, startup T-shirts, business cards, art therapy, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, Vesak, jazz festival, modern art gallery, ecopreneurs, painter-poets, eNGOs and digital innovators.

Jazz is one of the most enduring and vibrant forms of improvisational music, with variants and genres spanning the globe. From big band and electro to Brazilian and Indo-jazz, this musical movement has grown and morphed in countries around the world. UNESCO has also designated April 30 as International Jazz Day, to highlight jazz and its contribution to uniting people across the planet (see my quotes compilation here).

Over the decades, a range of women artistes have left their stamp on jazz, such as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, Nina Simone, Diana Krall, Mary Lou Williams, and Regina Carter. In this photo essay, we celebrate other emerging and established women artistes who performed at the recent Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta, regarded as one of the top five jazz festivals in the world (see my earlier photo essay here).

Jazz (particularly fused with Indian classical music) and blues are thriving in India as well, with notable bands such as the legendary Shakti (with Zakir Hussain, John McLaughlin, L.Shankar, and Vikku Vinayakram). Bengaluru venues such as The B-Flat have recently featured a range of women jazz and blues artists from India: Vasundhara Vee, Radha Thomas, Arathi Rao, Mathangi, Mohini Dey, and Tipriti Kharbanga.

Women bring a special creativity and sensitivity to the arts, and on the occasion of International Women’s Day, we celebrate their contribution to new waves of jazz with this photo essay from Java Jazz 2017 (JJF)!

Morgan James is a New York-based soul singer, songwriter, and Broadway powerhouse. Her hits and renditions include Call My Name, She's Gone, and Fed Up On You. She drew a standing ovation at each of her three sets at JJF.

Mian Tiara is the vocalist of Indonesian fusion band Simak Dialog, along with Sri Hanuraga (piano), Rudy Zulkarnaen (bass), and Cucu Kurnia (kendang). The group blends jazz with Sundanese rhythms, and has performed across Asia and in Europe.

Cristina Morrison is an actor, singer-songwriter and producer. Her mother is from Ecuador, and Cristina was born in Miami. Her albums include I Love and Baronesa, and she also supports an educational program through the arts in the public schools of Isabela Island in the Galapagos.

Marie Daulne is the Belgian singer-composer powering the award-winning band Zap Mama. They excel in polyphonic and Afro-jazz music, along with elements of soul and hip-hop. Their two mesmerising sets at JJF were performed in English as well as French. Marie is the daughter of a Belgian father and a Congolese mother, and was influenced by Etta James and Bob Marley.

Cyrille Aimée is a singer of French-Dominican heritage, and was influenced at an early age by the gypsy music of Django Reinhardt. She has collaborated with a range of international artists, and has won numerous awards such as the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition.

Adina Shalahita is a singer who is part of the Indonesian music project Beatluz. She has also performed at festivals such as Jazz Mount Bromo, Kuala Lumpur Jazz Festival, and World Youth Jazz Festival. Adina released her first album in 2015.

Beady Lech is the vocalist and co-founder of the Norwegian jazz band Beady Belle. She has performed across Scandinavia and beyond, and has released seven albums with a mix of jazz and groove on the label Jazzland Recordings. Her bassist, Marius Reksjø, is also her husband; she has collaborated with other artistes such as India.Arie and Jamie Cullum.

Endah Widiastuti is a singer and guitarist who has formed the group Endah n Rhesa along with bassist Rhesa Aditya. Their albums blend rock and jazz, and they collaborated at JJF with drummer duo DuaDrum. Endah cites Lanis Morissete, Norah Jones and John Scofield as influences. The group has performed across Southeast Asia and at the Darwin Festival in Australia.

Kinga Glyk is a phenomenally talented bassist from Poland, all of 19 years old! She has already collaborated with a range of international artists, and released her debut album Registration in 2015 followed by Happy Birthday in 2016. A number of publications have described her as ‘New Hope’ and ‘Discovery of the Year.’

Krystyna Durys is a jazz vocalist from Poland, with influences ranging from Ella Fitzgerald to samba and bossa nova. Her first album was titled Tribute to the Ladies of Jazz. She was won a range of awards, and showcased her skills at two brilliant sets at JJF.

Radhini (Pujaan Hati Radhini) is an Indonesian singer who has been winning competitions since the age of 11. She cites as influences jazz singers Corinne Bailey Rae, Joss Stone, Christina Aguilera, Erykah Badu, and Mariah Carey. She has performed at the Jak Fazz festival as well, and her first album is aptly titled Beginning.

Emma Larsson is a Swedish-born jazz singer who began her musical journey at the Janacek Conservatory in the Czech Republic. Though she first studied classical music, she fell in love with jazz and eventually moved to New York city. Her albums include Irie Butterflies, Let it Go and Sing to the Sky.

Tiwi Shakuhachi is a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist who also plays piano and accordion. Fellow women musicians in her band iMago include Sheila Permatas on bass. She has been featured in three albums, and her first album is titled My Time.

Chelsea Baratz is a saxophonist and vocalist touring with Grammy Award winning trumpeter/composer Maurice Brown. Based in New York, her debut album is In Faith, and blends jazz with soul and blues. She studied at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, and has also performed for the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra.

Misi Lesar (left) is the lead vocalist and guitarist behind the Indonesian group Dua Empat, which she co-founded with her boyfriend Alvin Ghazalie. They cite Wes Montgomery and Russell Malone as influences, and also perform with vocalists Nesia Ardi and Almira Joesoef.

Nik West set the stage on fire at JJF with her colourful mohawk and shimmering costume. The bassist, composer and vocalist ‘moves, wows, and shocks crowds everywhere,’ as critics have noted. She has performed with stars like Prince and George Clinton, and blends jazz with rock, funk and theatre. Her debut album was aptly called Just in the Nik of Time, and she was one of the first musicians to play Fender’s first six-string bass. Nik is also the brainchild behind the Queen of Strings Competition to discover and inspire young women artistes.

Polly Gibbons is an outstanding jazz vocalist from the UK; her debut album was aptly called My Own Company. She performed across the US and UK to promote her next album Many Faces Of Love. Her influences include Joni Mitchell, Mahalia Jackson, Billie Holiday and Nina Simone.

Lady Fingaz is the anchor DJ of the Nicholas Payton Afro-Caribbean Mixtape. Originally from Texas, she quickly made a name for herself in New Orleans as a rising DJ talent in an all too often male dominated genre. She was a member of the collective Females Wit Funk and La Femme Deadly Venoms, and is now based in Oakland, California.

Bebel Gilberto doesn’t just sway the audience with her bossa nova-infused melodies, but seduces them with her uniquely Brazilian charm and sensuousness. Bebel is daughter of singers João Gilberto and Miúcha, and has earned multiple Grammy nominations. Based in New York, her most recent album is Tudo (‘everything').

Will this woman be a drummer at the next JJF? The festival featured a number of kiosks by instrument makers such as Yamaha, where aspiring musicians and curious visitors could actually try their hand at drumming, accompanied by instructions on a digital display.

Fan power: JJF is one of the safest festivals given its vast size, with almost no incidents of violence or misbehaviour. Much credit goes to the orderly fans – men and women! Musical collaboration and appreciation can truly cut across boundaries of country, religion and gender.

Girl power: Will this little girl in the photograph become a jazz musician? Much will depend on the support her parents give in her musical quest. But bringing her to a jazz festival is a good start!

Got a creative photograph to share? Email us at PhotoSparks@YourStory.com!

See also the YourStory pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups,’ accessible as apps for Apple and Android devices.


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