And all that Jazzmandu

The wait is over: the annual Surya Nepal Kathmandu Jazz Festival is back in town after a two-year Covid hiatus, spreading the message of peace and compassion through music.

Begun in 2002 and founded by Chhedup Bomzan of The Jazz Upstairs Bar and Navin Chettri, drummer and vocalist of Cadenza, ‘Jazzmandu’ is in its 18th year and keeps alive its aim to bring quality jazz to Nepal, transcending cultural boundaries with world-famous musicians getting together in Kathmandu for a week of entertainment this festive season.

Just as jazz incorporates elements from folk and traditional music, adding unique melodies and modulations, Surya Nepal Jazzmandu 2022 showcases the best that the genre has to offer in a vibrant cultural exchange.

Line-up includes the Jamie Baum Sextet from the USA, Jin Jim from Germany, Catia Werneck from Brazil and France, and Yumi Ito from Switzerland. Nepal’s very own Jonisha Poudel, Cadenza Collective and Samundra Band will also perform.

Read also: Jazz it up ‘Mandu, Sahina Shrestha

All that Jazz

Over the years, the jazz festival has been putting Nepal on the world music map, bringing the exquisite international sounds of jazz to Nepalis and taking Nepali musicians to the world. Twenty years ago, there were only a handful of jazz musicians in Nepal, but now aspirant instrumentalists queue to learn the style at the Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory. Here too, jazz has developed into a dazzling form of art, with its own distinct identity.

The festival promises to enrich lives, promote creativity, encourage sharing of international sounds and ideas, pushing the limits and boundaries of musical expectations, nurturing the talents of Nepali musicians.

“I hope that over the years, Jazzmandu has had a positive impact on our youth and evolving music culture,” says Nabin Chhetri, artistic director of Surya Nepal Jazzmandu 2022 and member of Cadenza. “We have a special free concert just for young students every year and this year we are also bringing back the Jazz for the Next Generation music competition.”

There is also a three-day free sound workshop from 10 to 12 October with a sound engineer from Switzerland. The theme this year is ‘Music for unity, peace and compassion’ and the festival runs from 13-19 October across many venues in the Valley.

The Jamie Baum Sextet (USA)

Widely considered among the top jazz flutists and composers in the world, Jamie brings to Jazzmandu some of the most compelling musicians from the New York jazz scene today.

Jamie’s passion for South Asian music was heightened over several tours in the region between 2001 and 2009, including two visits to Jazzmandu. She wrote “Honouring Nepal: The Shiva Suite”, commissioned by the Rubin Museum of Himalayan Art, to pay tribute to Nepal after the 2015 earthquake and performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 2016. Now, “The Shiva Suite” is coming to Nepal for the first time.

Jamie Baum – flute, compositions

Kenny Warren – trumpet

Brad Shepik – guitar

Zack Lober – bass

Julian Shore – piano

Jeff Hirshfield – drums

Catia Werneck (Brazil/France)

Born into a family of musicians in Rio de Janeiro, Catia began to sing and play from a young age before touring abroad and moving to Paris to further her career. Starting with an early collaboration in France with the Boto Novos Tempos collective, she has gone on to tour across the world and perform at major international jazz festivals.

She continues to perform and record in Brazil, showcasing her mastery and creativity in the styles of bossa nova, samba, jongo (a forerunner to samba), and more.

Catia Werneck – vocals

Noé Chantraine – piano/keyboards

Benjamin Asnar – bass

Navin Chettri – drums

Yumi Ito (Switzerland)

The destruction of Earth, the committal of a friend to a psychiatric hospital, the death of her unknown neighbour from heroin use — Yumi weaves into her music stories about society that matter, no matter how large or small, how bright or dark.

Her sound — an amalgam of jazz, art-pop, electronica, free improvisation and neo-classical music — might seem tricky but really isn’t: the musician, composer, producer and arranger navigates a clear stylistic path of her own making, always telling a story along the way.

Yumi Ito – vocals, compositions

Kuba Dworak – bass

Iago Fernandez – drums

Jin Jim (Germany)

“Vertical lift-off” is how the broadcaster NDR described Jin Jim’s meteoric rise on the German jazz scene. In 2013, the same year Jin Jim was founded, the band was voted by the public into the finals of the JazzTube Festival in Bonn.

Jin Jim’s sound is powered by a mix of latin, jazz and rock influences that create a rhythmically complex yet harmonically accessible whole.

Daniel Manrique Smith – C/alto/ bass flute

Johann May – guitar

Ben Tai Trawinski – double bass

Nico Stallmann – drums

Cadenza Collective (Nepal)

With a signature blend of jazz, afro-funk and Nepali folk music, Cadenza Collective plays music that’s irresistible for your ears and your booty. Led by the drummer and composer Navin Chettri, the group boasts a hard-driving performance style and has amassed six albums of original music.

In addition to pumping up the improvised music scene in Nepal, Cadenza has played across the world and collaborated with a stellar list of both Western and traditional Nepali musicians.

Navin Chettri – lead vocals/ drums/percussion

Pravin Chettri – alto saxophone/vocals

Rajat Rai – guitar/vocals

Samir Chettri – bass/vocals

Samundra Band (Nepal)

Formed in 2004, Samundra celebrates and safeguards the Gandharba community’s long tradition of performing Nepali folk music. Holding firm to typical folk instruments, the ensemble plays age-old Nepali tunes recomposed in new forms, updating cherished old music for contemporary tastes.

Anil Gandharba – sarangi

Subash Gandharba – bansuri

Pujan Gandharba – madal

RamkrishnaGandharba – arbajo

Buddha Gandharba – kartal

Jonisha Poudel (Nepal)

As a gifted exponent of khayal, the preeminent genre of Hindustani classical music, Jonisha Poudel has already made a deep mark at a young age. Trained under the guidance of Shree K.C., one of Nepal’s most respected khayal and dhrupad vocalists, she has won multiple honours and performed at many prestigious classical music festivals.

Her talent ranges beyond classical music as well: she has recorded hit songs for the Nepali film industry and been the lead vocalist for the band Vastu.

Jonisha Poudel – vocals

Santosh Bhakta – ishraj

Shree K.C. – harmonium

Nimesh Kapali – tabla

Jazz for the Next Generation

Concert for Young Students / Music Competition

Date: Thursday, 13 October

Time: 11:00am – 1:30pm

Venue: Malpi College, Gairidhara

Entry by invitation only!


Groovin’ at Upstairs

Date: Thursday, 13 October

Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Venue: Jazz Upstairs, Lazimpat

Price: Rs700

Gates open at 6:30pm.

Cadenza Collective gather new and old friends for an explosive jam at Kathmandu's most storied jazz club.


Valley Jams

Date: Friday, 14 October

Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Price: Rs700

Gates open at 6:30pm and close at 7:00pm.


Jazz Upstairs, Lazimpat – Jamie Baum Sextet (USA)

Electric Pagoda, Thamel – Jin Jim (Germany)

Evoke, Jhamsikhel – Catia Werneck (Brazil /France)

Maitri Marg – Yumi Ito (Switzerland)

Visiting Jazzmandu 2022 acts perform intimate sets at venues across the Kathmandu Valley.


Jazz Bazaar

Date: Saturday, 15 October

Time: 3:00pm – 10:00pm

Venue: Gokarna Forest Resort

Price: Rs1500

Gates open at 2:00pm and close at 7:00pm.

A day and night of incredible music under an open sky at the lush Gokarna Forest Resort.

Sounds of Brazilian Jazz & Nepali Afro-Funk

Date: Monday, 17 October

Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Venue: Aloft, Thamel

Price: Rs1700

Gates open at 6:00pm and close at 8:00pm.

A classy evening in Thamel with music spanning Brazil, West Africa and Nepal.


Jazz at Patan

Date: Tuesday, 18 October

Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Venue: Yalamaya Kendra, Patan Dhoka

Price: Rs1700

Gates open at 6:30pm and close at 8:00pm.

Please be seated by 6:45pm.

Nepali classical music fuses with jazz on a magical night in the old city of Patan.


Jazzmandu Finale

Date: Wednesday, 19 October

Time: 5:30pm – 10:00pm

Venue: Hotel Yak & Yeti, Durbar Marg

Price: Rs1500

Gates open at 4:30pm and close at 8:00pm.

The full festival line-up comes together for one last jam to close out Jazzmandu 2022.

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