Ubud Village Jazz Festival in Bali – Interview w/ Astrid Sulaiman

1. Where are you from and how did you first get into Jazz? 
    I was born and raised in Jakarta but moved to Bali in 2008.
    I always liked Louis Amstrong records when I was in junior high and tried to play it on piano and saxophone. (I joined the marching band at that time). And I played standard jazz again in my college years around 2002 with my friends in some cafes. And since then, I never stop learning and playing.

2. What was the scene (jazz scene And/Or general music scene) in Bali at that time?     I visited Bali in 2007 and was amazed about the jazz scene in Bali. As you couldn’t find such  venues in Jakarta at that time. They played standard jazz, originals, and compositions from Tania Maria, Bill Evans, etc. That’s why I decided to move.

3. How did the Ubud Jazz festival start? What stands out about it (besides the gorgeous physical location!)? It started in 2010 when we held small concerts at Serambi Art Antida (now is Antida Sound Garden) once a month with 50 guests. And when Serambi Art Antida closed due to some differences with the owners’  perspective, we lost a place to perform. Then we played in some places around Bali. And it was so packed with guests in 2012,  we decided to make a serious and international jazz festival.

What stands out about it is the spirit of the community that makes the festival keep growing. As we all volunteered. We don’t get paid. But we are making our dreams come true.
Yuri, who’s in charge of the artist division, is committed that UVJF has to be different in terms of the line ups. We decided to be different. We don’t have “pop/rock” stars in the festival. Only jazz.

4. What are the plans for the future of the festival? 

We’d like to combine it with another festival, such as a coffee/wine festival. Something that relates to local product that can boost their promotion as well.

5. Your three favorite albums. 

    Peter Beets – Chopin meets blues
    Oscar Peterson Live
    This time by Basie
I was lukcy to attend to festival in 2014, it was superb and in the most beautiful location for a festival I’ve ever seen. Get there if you can!
The Ubud Village Jazz Festival will be held Aug 10th & 11th.
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Mr. OK Jazz is a 20+ year resident of Japan and spends all his free time wandering the Kanto area looking for jazz cafes, bars, clubs and record stores. For two years he hosted the OK Jazz radio show on InterFM Radio, currently the OK Jazz podcast. You can reach him at *protected email*