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20 October, 2014

Penang Island Jazz Festival 2014

The Penang Island Jazz Festival 2014 is set to take place from 4-7 December at the Bayview Beach Resort in Batu Ferringhi, Penang Island. This is also the 11th installment of the international jazz festival where thousands of jazz lovers from around the region make their way here to attend this festival. The main event themed 'Jazz by the Beach' will take place on the 6th and 7th December with an exciting line up in international acts. 

For this years jazz festival, there are supporting music related activities held which include workshops, exhibitions, Sunrise Jazz @ The Spice Gardens, After Hours Jazz Jam, Creative Malaysia Fringe Stages and the Island Music Forum Sessions. 

For the Island Music Forum Sessions, there are a number of notable international speakers who will be discussing various topics related to jazz music and also jazz festivals. Speakers for the PIJF 2014 “Island Forum Sessions” include;

- Professor Tony Whyton (Director of the Salford Music Research Research Centre at University Salford UK)
- Lars Mossefinn (Independent Consultant at 4&more and jazz critic of Dag & Lid)
- Victor Kye (Assistant Artistic Director of Jarasum International Jazz Festival, Gwangju World Music Festival and Jarasum Rhythm & BBQ Festival)

Jazzhats and Ray, featuring Man Kidal (Malaysia)

Members of the band got together after the 5th Edition of PIJF and formed the group which has become one of the most in-demand groups in Penang. Consisting of Frankie on bass, Ken on Keyboards, Amy on Drums and fronted by the energetic, ever youthful Ray on vocals, the group will be joined by one of Malaysia’s finest guitar players – Man Kidal. 

Seth Glier (USA)

Seth Glier is an American singer-songwriter, pianist, and guitarist. Glier, a Massachusetts native, abandoned studies at The Berklee College of Music after one year because he wanted to play for people not for grades. Throughout 2010 and 2011, Glier shared stages with such artists as James Taylor, Mark Knopfler, The Verve Pipe, Edwin McCain and Ani DiFranco. He has appeared as a mainstage artist at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival (NY) and the Kerrville Folk Festival (TX).

Glier received a nomination for the 2011 Grammy Awards Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical for his release The Next Right Thing,[5] and earlier in 2011, he took home Best Love Song for his track Naia at the 10th Annual Independent Music Awards.[6] In 2012, "Next Right Thing" won Best Social Action Song at the Independent Music Awards. Seth Glier is currently an artist partner with ChildFund International. Seth showcases ChildFund's work and encourages his fans to reach out to children in crisis by sponsoring a child (or multiple children) with the organization.

Jo Young Deok Trio (Korea)

The Trio lead by Jo Young Deok consist of Kyunghee University 07 Alumni who won the grand prize at The Jazz Concourse Competition of The Jarasum International Jazz Festival 2012. Their music focuses on the blending of old and modern sounds. Jo young-deok, is the lead guitarist and composer for all but three of the songs on their debut album “Attelage”.

Drummer, Choi Joseph is actively playing in various music bands like Nam ye-ji Band, Pyo Jin-ho Quartet and Lee Kyujae Quintet and competent Bass player, Park Jiwoong adds support to the rhythms and melodies to the group. The title of their album “Attelage” means ‘a chain’ which the group hopes to show that all music is connected and hopes to create a unique sound which can only be played by a guitar trio.

Laila Biali Trio (Canada)

Award-winning Canadian Jazz pianist, vocalist and songwriter Laila Biali has toured with Suzanne Vega, Chris Botti and Paula Cole and recorded with and supported Sting. She takes the best of pop, rock and soul, informs it with her knowledge of Jazz and weaves it into her musical arrangements.

Laila’s music has been presented at prestigious venues spanning four continents including the North Sea Jazz Festival, Tokyo’s Cotton Club, Peru’s El Festival Internacional de Lima, and Carnegie Hall in New York City. Her studio recording Tracing Light received a JUNO nomination for “2011 Best Vocal Jazz Album of the Year” and her accolades include “SOCAN Composer of the Year” and “Keyboardist of the Year” at Canada’s National Jazz Awards.

Crystal Bowersox (USA)

American Idol 2010 runner up, Crystal has made it her mission to live life and her music to the fullest. With a gentle warmth and wisdom well beyond her years, the consummate artist has an uncompromising vision of herself and her music that is refreshing and rare.

Crystal released her first album “Farmer’s Daughter” in 2010 and has since performed alongside many names from Harry Connick Jr., Joe Cocker, and Alanis Morrisette, to Michael Franti, John Popper and BB King. “All That For This”, Crystal Bowersox’s sophomore release is a powerful testament to her talents as both a singer and songwriter, as well as her unerring musical vision. Her rich amalgam of blues, country, folk and rock makes her one of the most dynamic young voices in the world of music.

Carmen Souza (Cape Verdean, West Africa)

Lisbon born Carmen Souza is an incandescent female singer of Cape Verdean ancestry, a jazz-tinged chanteuse with a cool, smoky sound. Carmen grew up speaking both Portuguese and Cape Verdean Creole. Theo Pas’cal, her producer and mentor and one of the best bass players in Portugal, discovered her talent and introduced Carmen to Jazz and other contemporary sounds that markedly influenced her musical development.

Her 2005 debut album Ess ê nha Cabo Verde was released in 2005 to critical acclaim and her second release, Verdade (Truth) in 2008, confirmed Souza’s status as a major new talent, and her recent release of Protegid (Protected) made her a true world music force – a combination of Cape Verdean traditional rhythms and song forms with jazz and Brazilian influences.

Monoswezi (Mozambique)

Monoswezi is a collective of musicians originally from Mozambique, Norway, Sweden and Zimbabwe. With a common passion for traditional African music in general, and music from Zimbabwe and Mozambique in particular, Monoswezi seeks a musical expression, where respect for tradition is combined with different references and experiences from jazz and modern Western music. In addition to traditional music, Monoswezi performs music composed by the band members, with a strong improvisational approach.

The Fresh Dixie Project (UK)

The Fresh Dixie Project have made a splash on the UK music scene with their unique crossover swing. Their energetic sound fuses intense grooves and raucous sax lines with infectious melodies and powerful riffs. Played hard, fast and laced with virtuosity, their songs are just as electrifying for the feet as they are for the ears.

Richard Bona (Cameroon, Africa)

Richard Bona was born into a family of musicians, which enabled him to start learning music from a young age. His grandfather was a griot – a West African singer of praise and storyteller – and percussionist, and his mother was a singer. At 4 years old, Bona started to play the balafon. At the age of 5, he began performing at his village church. Not being wealthy, Bona made many of his own instruments: including flutes and guitars (with cords strung over an old motorcycle tank).

His talent was quickly noticed, and he was often invited to perform at festivals and ceremonies. Bona began learning to play the guitar at age 11, and in 1980 aged just 13, he assembled his first ensemble for a French jazz club in Douala. The owner befriended him and helped him discover jazz music, in particular that of Jaco Pastorius, which inspired Bona to switch his focus to the electric bass.

Dutch Swing College Band (Holland)

The Dutch Swing College Band "DSCB" is a traditional dixieland band founded on May 5, 1945 by bandleader and clarinettist/saxophonist Peter Schilperoort. Highly successful in their native home of The Netherlands, the band quickly found an international following. 

It has featured such musicians as Huub Janssen (drums), Henk Bosch van Drakestein (double bass), Kees van Dorser (trumpet), Dim Kesber (saxes), Jan Morks (clarinet), Wout Steenhuis (guitar), Arie Ligthart (banjo/guitar), Jaap van Kempen (banjo/guitar), Oscar Klein (trumpet), Dick Kaart (trombone), Ray Kaart (trumpet), Bert de Kort (cornet), Bert Boeren (trombone), Rod Mason, Rob Agerbeek (piano) - among many others.

CNIRBS (Germany)

CNIRBS united on a seemingly unmemorable day in the rainy city of Hamburg in order to make their own musical contribution for the amusement of mankind. Their music thrives between wild improvisation and complex global rhythms, bonding folkloristic drinking music, free spheres and solid beats. The whole is fueled by electronic frequencies and vibrates with the energy of a pressure cooker, shortly before bursting.

These fearless three members, equipped with keyboard, wind, percussion instruments, and a variety of flashing lights and mysterious foot pedals, succeed in this musical balancing act with verve and sweaty ease. CNIRBS do their thing leaving their own, unique stamp.
PIJF 2014 Poster
Penang Island Jazz by the Beach Program

Saturday (6th December 2014)
6.40pm – 7.10pm Seth Glier
7.20pm – 8.00pm CNIRBS
8.10pm – 8.50pm Laila Biali Trio 
9.00pm – 9.40pm Monoswezi 
9.50pm – 10.30pm Dutch Swing College Band
10.40pm – 11.20pm Richard Bona Group

Sunday (7th December 2014)
6.30pm – 7.10pm Jo Young Deok Trio
7.20pm – 8.00pm Schroeder-Headz 
8.10pm – 8.50pm Crystal Bowersox
9.00pm – 9.40pm Fresh Dixie Project
9.50pm – 10.30pm Carmen Souza
10.40pm – 11.20pm Jazzhats & Ray featuring Man Kidal

For those planning to visit Penang for the Jazz Festival, you are advised to book your hotels in advance as in December, it is the school holidays therefore getting a hotel in the last minute will not be easy. As the event is held at Batu Feringghi, it is best to stay around here for easy access to the event. 

For those staying in the city of George Town, you must note that the time it takes to get to the event is about 45 minutes to 60 minutes. Therefore it is highly recommended you give at least 90 minutes travel time. There is very little difference in taking a bus or taxi as they both are about the same time. however, taking a bus will cost you only RM1.10 one way versus a taxi which will cost RM35 one way. 

Penang International Jazz Festival Tickets

Additional contact information for Penang Island Jazz Festival 2014, you can contact Paul Augustin +603 20114725 +6012 2967800 / Chin CY +6012 3565544 / Kevin Theseira +6016 3607091or you can email : info@penangjazz.com / chincy@penangjazz.com / kevin@penangjazz.com

You can also visit the official Malaysia Major Events Website for a full list of events that are happening throughout the year. Malaysia Major Events is a division of Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), an agency of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture

For more information, please visit the official Penang Jazz Festival website. You can also buy your Penang Jazz Tickets online from TicketPro. Remember to book your hotel well in advance and plan your trip there for the Penang Island Jazz Festival 2014.

Featured Photographer - Lucy Liew from Sabah Borneo

Featured Photographer Malaysia Asia

Starting October 2014, Malaysia Asia will be having a featured photographer section where we will showcase local Malaysian photographers who are into landscape and travel photography. This new section will assist in featuring the many up and coming photographers or even the renown photographers in the industry. 

The featured photographer section will also help to promote Malaysia to the world via the beautiful landscape and travel photos taken around Malaysia. As next year is the Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015 or MYFest2015, we would like to indirectly promote Malaysia not only as a touristic destination but also a photography destination as there is abundance of culture, nature, wildlife, landscapes and heritage to photograph. 

Our 1st featured photographer for October 2014 is: 

Lucy Liew from Sabah Borneo

Lucy Liew is born and bred in Sabah and currently works as a spatial conservation officer and is currently attached with an NGO here in Sabah Borneo. Photography has always been her passion where she started taking pictures since 2007 till now. Because of her job, she gets to travel to many places around Sabah and whilst working, she manages to take some time off to photograph the beautiful landscapes found around here. Currently, Lucy uses a Nikon D90 DSLR Camera for her photography.

Below are some samples of Lucy Liew's Photography of Sabah taken at various locations.

Lankayan Island, Sabah
Lankayan Island, Sabah
Tambatuon, Kota Belud Sabah
Tambatuon, Kota Belud Sabah 
Sukau, Kinabatangan Sabah
Sukau, Kinabatangan Sabah
Tanjung Aru Beach, Kota Kinabalu Sabah
Tanjung Aru Beach at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Kundasang Sabah Photo
Kundasang, Sabah 
Gomantong Caves, Sandakan Sabah
Gomantong Caves, Sandakan Sabah

Lucy Liew Sabah For more images, you can also view Lucy's photos via her Flickr Page or even follow Lucy Liew on her Cray Pixels Facebook Page

If you know of someone who loves landscape and travel photography, you can always recommend them to me or share this page with them and I will see if they can be featured here in this new travel photography section. 

Criteria to be included in the featured photographer section: 
  1. This section is only open to landscape and travel photography in Malaysia. 
  2. Photographer must be Malaysian only.
  3. Photographers must showcase at least 6-8 photographs of various places around Malaysia.
  4. Photographers can be amateur or professional. 
  5. Send your inquiries to: juniorhogan [at] gmail.com
If you liked or enjoyed this section, please feel free to share it on social media via Facebook or Twitter and use the hashtag #MalaysiaPhotos. Thank you again and we will see who is the next featured photographer for Malaysia. 

19 October, 2014

Rama IX Super Tower in Bangkok, Thailand

ASEAN's tallest building

The news is out and the Rama IX Super Tower in Bangkok, Thailand once completed in 2019 will be the tallest structure in Southeast Asia and ASEAN. This was recently announced during a ground breaking press conference held in Bangkok in October 2014. The 320,000-sqm Rama IX Super Tower will measure 125 storeys tall at a height of 615 meters high and feature 90,000 sqm of office space and a 260-room luxury six-star hotel. 

Over the years, Bangkok has been heavily developed with many new projects being undertaken and many which have recently opened too. This is also part of the city;s CBD development and the addition of the Rama IX Super Tower will most definitely be the talk of the world once it is completed in 2019.

ASEAN's tallest structure, Rama IX Super Tower in Bangkok
ASEAN's tallest structure, Rama IX Super Tower in Bangkok
Artist impression of the Super Tower in Bangkok
Artist impression of the Super Tower in Bangkok 
Rama IX Super Tower in Bangkok city
Rama IX Super Tower in Bangkok city - Impression
As for tourism, the Rama IX Super Tower will have an observation tower deck and also a rooftop garden which provides a 360 degrees view of Bangkok city. Other important facilities include a direct MRT connection and a six-lane private road. 

Owned and developed by Grand Canal Land or G Land, the chairman Yothin Boondicharern said the tower will anchor the existing Grand Rama 9 complex which has mixed-use shopping, residential and office space serving over 300,000 people daily. Currently there is no indication to which hotel tenant is secured. 

Mt. Yotin also said G Land's major shareholders included his Charoenkrit Enterprise, which holds a 37-per-cent stake, the Channel 7 group that has 33 per cent, Bangkok Bank, which has 5 per cent, and Italian-Thai Development Group with a smaller stake. Four Thai banks will be the major lenders for the project, whose total construction cost will be 18 billion Baht.

tallest skyscrapers in Bangkok, Thailand
Details of all the tallest buildings in Bangkok, Thailand (click to view)
Mr. Banphot Hongthong, G Land's independent director and former permanent secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, said this project had been under way on and off for the past two years. The company finally decided to go ahead with it once it was convinced by the economic policy unveiled by the current government and given the geographic advantage of Thailand as a hub of Asean. G Land has hired a US firm, Skidmore, Owing & Merrill, as its design consultant, but all other design and construction work will be done and managed by Thai companies.

Once the Rama IX Super Tower is completed, it will dwarf the tallest building currently in Thailand, the Baiyok II tower, which tops out at 328.4 metres on its 85th floors and also the second-tallest structure, to be completed in 2016, which is the Mahanakhon condominium at 314 metres. Asean's current tallest building is the Petronas twin towers in Kuala Lumpur at 375 metres. 

Bangkok Skyscrapers Thailand
Bangkok Skyscrapers
Rama IX Super Tower Project Details

- Developer - Grand Canal Land (G Land)

- Property type: Mixed-used project

- Construction area: 320,000 square metres

- Number of storeys: 125

- Building height: 615 metres (2017.7 feet)

- Architecture: Architects 49 Ltd

- Structural engineering: KCS & Associates Co Ltd

- Mechanical and electrical engineering: EC Engineering Network Co Ltd

- Design consultant: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

Rama IX Super Tower compared to other skyscrapers in the world
Rama IX Super Tower compared to other skyscrapers in the world - by Realist
Overall, the Rama IX Super Tower will be built according to platinum-level certification of the Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). In total, the project for this tower cost 18 Billion Baht, built on a 73 rai of land near the intersection of Ratchadapisek Road in Bangkok. 

Penang Island Jazz Festival 2014


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