Thursday, February 18, 2016

'Youth festival will be bigger, better'

By Tony Mariadass

World Youth Jazz Festival (WYJF) have been given a tremendous boost as they continue to bring the music to the street for the second consecutive year – this time to Dataran Merdeka.
WYFF which was inaugurated in 2012 and the brainchild of Datuk Nik A Azmi, the chairman and founder, took the festival for the first time for a three day carnival to the streets of Jalan Mesui last year.
Making its inaugural festival at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) in 2012, the festival has met with many challenges to continue, but through the efforts of Nik and his fellow jazz lovers, it has survived to become an
annual event held in the first week of May.

Indeed, Nik known as the “Father of Malaysian Jazz” has worked very hard to keep this international jazz festival for youth which is vibrant, buzzing with energy and excellent jazz by the young generation alive.
And to have secured Dataran Merdeka as the venue for this year’s festival and above the continued support of Kuala Lumpur City Hall, WYJF indeed looks set to become a permanent feature in the Malaysian music calendar.
“Indeed it is a milestone for WYFF having secured Dataran Merdeka as the venue where we expect a bigger crowd,” said Nik.
Azmi also revealed that the prime minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak himself has endorsed the initiative to have this festival and that this will further enhance jazz music in the country.
“It has been a struggle to last all this while, which included running into debts. But we have done it for the love of jazz and glad that we are making headway finally.
“I have been doing all this because of my passion for jazz. I have been spending time, effort and money and sometimes "begging" for people to help promote Jazz. Sometimes they call me the Jazz Beggar,” quipped Nik.
Nik Azmi with Herbie Hancock was appointed the UNESCO Ambassador for the International Jazz Day (IJD)after it was declared in 2012
WYFF is the product of the by Jazz Community Malaysia (JAZZCOMM) who are also responsible for Jazz Ampang (inception in 2010) which last month held its 55th edition of its event at the Dagang Avenue Food Court, a reasonably affordable eatery in Taman Dagang, Ampang.
“What we have is aa complete Jazz undertaking unseen elsewhere under one roof done by the same people,” said Azmi. 
Azmi details and the line-up for this year’s WYJF will be announced soon.
In the meantime, Azmi has launched another initiative called Jazzonomics.
It is an index created to measure the developed status of a country.
“It is a simple method whereby the developed status of any given country is calculated based on the percentage of the country's population appreciating jazz - the higher the percentage, the more developed the country,” explained Nik.

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