Singapore International Jazz Festival 2016 Review



By Reuben Paul Dhanaraj

The third Singapore International Jazz Festival, more fondly referred to as SingJazz, kicked off at the Marina Bay Sands’ Event Plaza on a sunny Friday afternoon to massive cheers and rounds of applause from the crowd. Held from 4-6 March, it featured a diverse lineup of global artists alongside local Singaporean talent. With bands like Hiatus Kaiyote and British acid jazz band Incognito each bringing their own unique sounds to the stage, the festival was a showcase of jazz, from the traditional to the innovative.

Hiatus Kaiyote

Hiatus Kaiyote’s Nai Palm

One performance that stood out, surpassing already high expectations, was that of Grammy Award winner Joss Stone. The 28-year old swept across the stage on bare feet, her tall, graceful figure and outrageously charming personality transforming a warm Saturday night into an intoxicating musical equivalent of a reggae-pop-soul mojito.


Joss Stone says goodbye to the crowd

The Orquesta Buena Vista Club also made an impact, as they brought an emotionally charged performance to the stage. Having travelled for 16 years, members of the Cuban band finally decided it was time to hang up their boots, but not before they toured the world one last time on their final tour, aptly titled Adios. Legendary singer Omara Portuondo took the stage amid huge rounds of applause, and the 86 year-old impressed many with her soulful renditions.

Omara Portuondo

Orquesta Buena Vista Club’s Omara Portuondo

It wasn’t all international artists either, as Singaporean artists like Dru Chen and Charlie Lim also performed. During their sets, they showed that local talent can definitely hold their own on an international stage, and their presence demonstrated that the jazz scene in Singapore is thriving.

Charlie Lim

Singapore’s own Charlie Lim

In the end, SingJazz 2016 was definitely one to remember, with three nights of great music, excitement and an amazing crowd. We hope that the Singapore International Jazz Festival has many more great years to come.