Press section

Surya Nepal Jazzmandu Press Section
Welcome to the Surya Nepal Jazzmandu  Press and Media Section. You will find Press Releases, Jazzmandu Reporter articles and interviews, information for journalists regarding credentials, individual high-resolution photos of this year’s artists for download, as well as files containing information related to the  Festival.

If you have any questions, please contact Samir Chettri:

Jazz at the Temple House


Day six of Surya Nepal Jazzmandu 2016 began with a set of master classes from visiting international artists at the Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory in Jhamsikhel. Some two dozen enthusiastic music fans and students heard tips on technique, composition and performance, as well as stories of personal musical journeys, from the Mn’Jam Experiment from the Netherlands and Lyrics Born from the USA.


Mn’Jam Experiment, featuring Melissa Oliveira on vocals and JAM on turntables and visual effects, walked the audience through their distinct technical setup and process of creation. Oliveira presented a vocal loop processor, and demonstrated how she uses it to layer melodies, harmonies and effects live on stage. JAM described his work on the turntables, and demonstrated how his projected live visuals are synced to them. The duo also shared tips on how to setup stage audio for performances featuring both electronic processors and a live band. They also invited volunteers up on stage to try their setup out, and students and teachers from the Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory experimented with creating looped and layered vocals in three voices, and with complementing them on the turntables.


The rapper Lyrics Born came next, with a backing band featuring Max MacVeety on drums, Uriah Duffy on bass, and John Monahan on guitar. In between performing some of their songs, the band described how they had found their way to their distinctive style, rooted in hip-hop but also drawing heavily on jazz, funk and rock styles. Lyrics Born took questions on his approach to choosing musicians to work with, on finding fresh directions in a long musical career, and on the complexities of compositions when crossing genres and blending musical styles. He emphasized the dangers of taking a purist approach to music and rejecting new directions and experiments, reminding the audience that nothing can stop music from always evolving and taking new forms, and that there have been technological and artistic developments that transform music throughout history.


The evening show fused classical music from Nepal with the sounds of the international artists. Taking place in the Kantipur Temple House, the intimate space was filled with eager audience members. The first group to take the stage was the Raibin Lal Shreshta Ensemble featuring a tabla player, basuri, vocals, and sitar. This group sat in the center of the floor on pillows surrounded by festival musicians. The first fusion included Philipp Püschel on trumpet, Lasse Golz on tenor saxophone, Navin Chettri on drums, Valentine Mühlberger on keys, and Bruno Paris on bass guitar. The jam started with the traditional group from Nepal then, with a lead in from the drums, other musicians weaved their sound into the mix. The energy in the atmosphere was potent.


The mood changed when Ange Takats took the stage with her original composition written when the earthquake happened here in Nepal. Bruno Paris on bass and Navin Chettri on tabla created a chilling mood for this well crafted song. The next collaboration was a composition by Navin Chettri having to do with young Nepali’s leaving their country. The song began with light percussion and vocals from Chettri. Janysett McPherson sat behind the piano and added vocals along with improvised piano solos along with other supporting musicians.


After the intermission Navin Chettri, Akiko Horii, and Rabin Shrestha performed with percussion, first solos then as a trio. Next, members of different bands came on stage and played a piece inspired by a Nepali dance, “Shiva’s Dance.” After this piece Mn’JAM Experiment’s Melissa Oliveira took the stage with members of Rocket Men and Cadenza Collective accompanied by the Nepali flute.


The finale of the night included musicians from every band in the festival line up. Some on vocals, horns, keys, percussion, and bass all came together. Lyrics Born joined the jam part way through and got the audience on their feet and dancing. When the song finished the crowed cheered. We spoke with Emily, an audience member who said this was one of the most spectacular evenings of music she has ever witnessed. It was clear this was a sentiment felt that night, both on and off the stage.



This afternoon the Surya Nepal Jazzmandu 2016 Jazz festival brought three musical acts to the Kathmandu Music Room for world-class workshops. First was the musical duo Afruiko (Japan/France) who led a group of about twenty attendees through rhythms exercises. By the end of their workshop the group had formed a circle and were practice different rhythmic patterns.


Next, were Janysett McPherson (Cuba/France) and her band. McPherson’s workshop centered on the Cuban clave rhythm. The audience clapped, sang, and played along with the band using this rhythmic pattern. Calve translate to “key” in Spanish and the band explained to the participants that the clave rhythm is the key to the music. McPherson first noted the rhythms on a small white board in the room then explained the concept to the group. Eventually, the band invited participants in the workshop to come forward and play the different instruments. One man took over the piano while another played the guiro, a small percussion instrument that makes sounds from a scrapping motion. McPherson ended her portion of the workshop with questions from the audience, mostly having to do with uncovering more Cuban music.


Ange Takats (Australia) closed the workshop with a lesson on songwriting. The room fell quiet and Takats started in on the essence of a singer songwriter. She started the workshop asking the audience what are some of their favorite songwriters and why. She then went through her, “four F’s of songwriting” which were,
“feasting, feeling, falling, and forgetting about it.” Takats went into depth about each of these four words. Later in the workshop, she asked the group if there were any songwriters in the crowd. Three people came forward and took turns playing their original composition in front of the other participants and Takats. The group then gave feedback on the songs and work shopped any spots the artists were struggling with. The workshop ended with Takats playing one of her own compositions that the audience had requested. The room fell quiet has she sang and listening intently to the words of the song. After the final song Takats offered her advise to the audience and passed out business card with her contact information, fostering young artists to continue making music.




The show Sunday night at the Surya Nepal Jazzmandu 2016 Jazz festival brought the sounds of Afuriko (France/Japan) and Janysett McPherson (Cuba/France) to the Summit Hotel for an outdoor show under the stars. Afuriko took the stage first to a sold out audience. The duo brought the stage to life with Akiko Horii’s percussion and Jim Funnell’s keyboard skills. After their performance we talked to the duo about their Jazzmandu experience. Jim Funnell explained this festival experience as different then other festivals because he feels a sense of community and described it as “a big family.” One of Akiko’s favorite moments of the festival was the jam the first night at Jazz Upstairs with Lyrics Born. The duo has enjoyed their time immensely in Nepal finding the people and atmosphere kind and welcoming.


Next was Janysett McPherson who took the stage in her stiletto heals that matched her red top. She started her set with a jazz standard then moved to a French piece. Near the end of her second song Janysett gave a smile to the audience as she caught her breath from the spectacular piano solo before ending the song on a high note. Things got turned up when McPherson played her own composition witch she explained was about, “looking for your faith, sometimes life is hard and sometimes we loose are dreams. This song is about not giving up go go go.”


The next tune was another original composition by McPherson, a Spanish love song. Before starting the song she explained with love, “sometimes the silence talks more then the words.” The piece was quiet and smooth. She then ended her set with a Cuban rumba that she infused with French sounds. The audience clapped along with the song and McPherson moved between the piano and congo drum. Before leaving the stage, McPherson asked the audience, “how do you feel now in this moment?” The audience cheered and in seconds on their feet as McPherson began her first encore. For her second encore she invited AfuriKo and Navin Chettri on stage for a familiar Spanish tune that the audience sang alone with. The collaboration received a standing ovation before the artists left the stage. Sarah Shaw, an audience member, said before the show she came because she loves Latin Jazz. After the show, the said the music exceeded her expectations and she looks forward to the rest of the festival. A sentiment felt by many.


October 22, 2016 – Gokarna Forest Resort – Jazzmandu



The Surya Nepal Jazzmandu 2016 jazz festival was kicked off Saturday by Gandharvas (Nepal) a traditional Nepali music group. First, they played their original composition where Sanu Kanha improvised sometimes-comical lyrics on the spot that made the crowd chuckle. The group finished their set with the Nepali favorite Resham Firiri.


The next musical act of the day was Ange Takats (Australia) who took the stage with her guitar and stunning voice. Her set included original songs along with one Bonnie Raitt cover. Throughout her set musicians from different groups joined her on stage. The bass player from Janysett McPherson’s band added to Takats’ songs while Rocket Men pianist Valentin Mühlberger added keys to the mix. A memorable moment from Takats set was when she played her own composition written about the earthquake in 2015. She described being in a hospital when the second earthquake happened and the kindness from a Nepali doctor during that time.

The other songs where broken up with witty banter about relationships and love. The set ended with an upbeat and catchy original about falling in and out of love.


Change in mood, Afuriko (France /Japan) brought the stage alive with their percussion and keys. Akiko Horii and Jim Funnell played in sync with each other through tempo and melodic changes. One audience member commented on how easy Horii makes playing a variety of percussion instruments look. Another audience member described the sound as something they had never heard before but greatly enjoyed.


Rocket Men (Germany) continued the evening with their tightly constructed mesh of jazz and space. The group lifted off with an original piece that transported the audience to another world. They went onto play a piece inspired by Istanbul followed by a piece filled with Northern Brazilian flair. The group thanked their trusted volunteer manager for the week onstage and played one last song for the Gokarna audience.


Rabin Lal Shrestha Ensemble (Nepal) brought local sounds to the festival with their peaceful tabla playing. The crowd sat as the sunset and listened to the traditional music. Next up was, Mn’JAM Experiment (The Netherlands) who incorporated technology with instruments and vocals. The lead singer, Melissa Oliveira looped her vocals throughout the show, which added a unique element to the festival. Felix Dhmel from Rocket Men joined Mn’JAM on stage for the entirety of their set on the drum set.  


After Mn’JAM Experiment’s set Janysett McPherson (Cuba/France) took the stage for yet another spectacular performance at this festival. McPherson had the crowd up and dancing and singing along to her catchy tunes.  Following this performance the audience inched closer to the stage as local favorite Cadenza Collective (Nepal) set up for their performance. Navin Chettri sang and played the drum set as the audience danced and sang to the familiar tunes.  Lasse Golz and Phillipp Püschel, two members from Rocket Men, joined Cadenza on stage adding a trumpet and tenor saxophone to the mix.


The final act of the evening was the highly anticipated Lyrics Born (USA). The crowd was ready and on their feet when Lyrics Born came out on stage. Supported by a world-class band, Lyrics Born showed off his vocal skills. His set was filled with inspirational messages and audience participation. While the band was taking their last bow, the audience continued to cheer and eventually getting the encore they wanted. All the musicians came on stage and closed the Gokarna event with two jams. Once the encore was complete all the musicians from the day came to the center of the stage and took a bow. One of the musicians on stage for the encore commented that, “this is what the mission of Jazzmandu is all about bring quality jazz to Nepal, transcend cultural boundaries, and spread the message of peace and compassion through music.”



Surya Nepal Jazzmandu 2016 Jazz festival brought the people in Kathmandu an evening of the finest jazz sprinkled through the valley. House of Music in Thamel hosted LYRICS BORN (Presented by the US Embassy); Jazz Upstairs featured two acts, AFURIKO and ANGE TAKATS; Moksh in Jhamsikhel had JANYSETT MC PHERSON; 
and Manny’s Eatery & Tapas Bar in Jawalakhel gave ROCKET MEN the stage.


Janysett McPherson (France/Cuba) captivated a room full of attentive audience members who were mesmerized by both her voice and piano skills. Wearing a green polka dotted shirt and stilettos, McPherson took the stage with confidence and grace. She started the night off with the jazz standard, “Lush Life.” As she and her band began to play people trickled in from the restaurant area of the venue and became captivated by the sound. McPherson effortlessly moved between her chest and head voice creating earthy sounds in the lower range and floating with ease into the high notes.


She explained, before the second song, that her repertoire is a “melting pot” of music that has influenced her. She gave homage to Billy Holiday then began the jazz standard “God Bless the Child.” This song showed off the flexibility in McPherson’s voice as she sang quick turns, trills, and moved between registers with no trouble. When the vocals would stop her fingers continued to play without hesitation improvising without ever missing a beat.


Later in the evening, McPherson brought the listeners through the streets of Paris with a French tune. The song started slowly then with a crash of the cymbals changed to a fast dance tempo that opened the door for yet another spectacular piano solo. The band played for many minuets on this tune until McPherson raised her hand signaling the end of the song. With one final seven chord the song came to a close and the audience went wild.


Just a few minuets away The Rocket Men (Germany) were playing at Manny’s Eatery & Tapas Bar in Jawalakhel. This show took place outside on a perfect autumn evening with the stars overhead playing to about 100 people. Rocket Men blasted their audience into an evening of ethereal jams. The instruments weaved in and out of each tune, which allowed for audience members to see the fine musicianship of each member in the band. Their last song was inspired by a river in the northern part of Brazil and sampled sounds from South America. Saxophonist, Lasse Golz picked up a flute on this piece and wowed the audience with his skill. Heavy effects created a space like theme while the underlying Brazilian sounds came through the texture. The audience cheered for an encore and the group came back on stage and played their song “Landing.” This tune began with bass and drums and ended by fading out until the piano played the last major chord.  


In the north of the city, day 2 of Surya Nepal Jazzmandu offered audiences a choice of styles and venues, with simultaneous gigs at two of Kathmandu’s best-loved music clubs. At Jazz Upstairs, Lazimpat, the evening began with an eager crowd packed attentively around Ange Takats, an Australian singer and songwriter playing at her second Jazzmandu. Ange set the mood for an intimate evening with a stirring cover of the classic song ‘Angel from Montgomery’, accompanying herself on acoustic guitar. From there, she also presented a wealth of original material, while also sharing the personal stories that inspired her songs, including such songs as ‘The Knitter’s Curse’.


Takat’s set was followed by an energetic performance by Afuriko, featuring the French pianist Jim Funnell and the Japanese percussionist Akiko Hori. The duo showcased a deep sense of understanding, tackling original tunes and innovative covers of jazz standards built upon wonderfully complex interplay between Hori’s impeccable rhythmic work, often drawing on West African traditions, and Funnell’s strident, often cheeky, melodic improvisation.


Meanwhile, in nearby Thamel, the American rapper Lyrics Born presented a raucous set to a packed crowd at House of Music. Lyrics Born was backed by John Monahan on guitar, Max MacVeety on drums, and Uriah Duffy on the bass. All three delivered memorable solos in between laying down tight grooves for Lyrics Born’s original compositions. The rapper proved more than capable of matching the crowd’s high energy, building to crescendo after crescendo that had most of the audience on their feet and moving.


Tsering, a 27-year-old attending his third Jazzmandu, said it was “great to hear some hip-hop-based music in the program this year too.” He added that he looks forward to the festival every year, and hoped that it keeps making Kathmandu an attractive place for international music acts. “The crowds are here, the fans are here, I hope they see that and keep coming,” he said.

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Jazzmandu 2016 Artist Bio/Photos

Artist Profile PDF File Download

Artist photos

Lyrics Born






MN Jam Experiment


Janysett McPherson


Ange Takats


Cadenza Collective


KJC & N.A Jazz Orchestra


Rabin Lal Shrestha




Manmohan Thapaliya Sharma


Umesh Pandit