Jazz. Its past its prime, right? While the mainstream may view jazz as old fashioned and dreary, it ‘s actually constantly evolving. No longer just a feature of dusty records tucked away in dimly lit bars. Both on and off the stage it is increasing in popularity, with R&B favorites like Kendrik Lamar heavily collaborating with the genre and jazz festivals being a common feature of summer in many cities.
A far cry from Kenny G and elevator music, live Jazz now represents a chance to witness something unique. The artists build beats between themselves and vibe off each other to make spontaneous music that excites the audience. In the age of over synthesized vocals and manufactured beats of EDM that build but never drop – no matter how long you bob your head up and down waiting in anticipation – live Jazz is a refreshingly unpredictable alternative.
Zhuhai’s Jazz Bar and Festival
With this in mind, the bustling popularity of Zhuhai’s Jazz bar is understandable. Linked with the contemporary music institute, it boasts extremely talented musicians at the forefront of China’s Jazz music scene. Every Friday and Saturday the house band starts at 9pm and by 10 the crowd spills out of the door onto the street, beers in hand. The band consistently deliver an entertaining show, with guest performers and jamming sessions to keep each night diverse. With an audience of loyal regulars, its a great way to integrate with the community and even meet the band.
In alliance with the institute, Beishan Hall offers an annual international music festival with a line-up of musicians travelling from all corners of the globe.
This year boasted an intercontinental line up with an eclectic mix of sub genres gracing the stage. Serbian band Eyot known for their breakdown of Balkan beats, gospel inspired Cannobal from Australia, Canadian Academy Award winners Born to be Blue Quartet to name a few. Film, theater and dance also contributed to the stellar program. With the sky and stars as a backdrop, it promises to be a spectacle of talent and soul every year.
Zhuhai offers an opportunity to witness how the genre has developed in the east. Amidst the heavy boom of Chinese DJ’s in nightclubs – which are nonetheless an experience not to be missed – the Jazz scene of Zhuhai offers a somewhat smoother alternative for locals and ex-pats alike.
Festival tickets start from CYN180
Last Saturday, the Intern China Zhuhai team and some of the Zhuhai interns attended the Beishan World Music Festival. This is a two-day festival that takes place every year at the Beishan Theater, which is part of an old temple complex in the Nanping area built during the Qing Dynasty. The festival usually hosts an eclectic mix of musicians from all around the world; from jazz and blues to Bossanova and folk. It is becoming a staple of Zhuhai’s cultural scene and one of Intern China’s favourite events!
The original plan was for the interns to volunteer at the event – they have done it in previous years and it’s a great opportunity to be part of the action and excitement. However, this year they had plenty of volunteers so we were not required, but the organisers were very kind and gave us a few free tickets. Our very own Brigitta did get to participate, though, and in a big way: she was chosen as one of the co-hosts for the show! They decked her out in a flowy, sparkly ballgown and did her hair up in a fancy bun – she looked the part and definitely played it well.
Meanwhile, the rest of us walked around, listening to the music for a while and checking out the different vendor stalls, which were selling food and drinks from some of the best Western and Asian bars and restaurants in Zhuhai. There is nothing better than a pint of German beer, a few grilled sausages and a sugary crêpe to enjoy an evening of great music and good friends. We even ran into some of our former interns, currently working in Shenzhen, who didn’t want to miss out on the festival and came out to Zhuhai for the weekend.
After the programme was over and all the acts had gone on stage, we decided to keep the party going and headed over to bar street, where we danced for a few more hours before getting some street barbecue dinner and calling it a night.