In Ozmic zone
You should hear them at least once. Just come over for the workshop; there is lot to learn from them,” said a music fan to his friend over the phone.
The wait for the French jazz band ‘Ozma’ got even more exciting after hearing such an enthusiastic call.
As soon as the five young men entered the Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory (KJC) for their scheduled workshop, one could almost cut excitement in the air with a knife. Looking at the young members of the band, laughing over silly jokes and discussing what to eat tomorrow for lunch (it sounded like they love spicy food), it was almost impossible to believe that they were judged the best French group at the National Jazz Competition in July 2006.
The band of five — Adrien Dennefeld (guitar), Edouard Séro-Guillaume (bass), David Florsch (saxophone), Matthias Mahler (trombone) and Stéphane Scharlé (percussion) — was first formed in 2001 by three students Adrieni, Stéphane and Edouard of Strasbourg University as a trio. Later they met David and Matthias during musical events.
Elder than rest of the members, Matthias is looked up to by the other members as their elder brother and Adrien lovingly added, “He is my dai and I’m his bhai,” showing off a little bit of Nepali that he had managed to pick up much to everyone’s delight.
It’s their first visit to Asia, and coming to a country where jazz music is still an alien genre in spite of the numerous jazz concerts that takes place every year, they were amused to see the passion the Nepali crowd has for Western music. “We were really not expecting the jazz scene in Nepal to be this strong. We are very surprised to see a school to learn western music and enthusiasm that musicians and students show for everything,” said Stephen with a huge grin.
They have been conducting a two-day workshop at KJC.
Talking about their experience here in Nepal, “spicy, dusty and people are very warm and friendly” is what they came up with.
The Oz factor
Deriving the name for the band from the very imaginative fantasy book The Wizard of Oz, which features a character of a princess of the same name, one can actually expect to find the same imagination and creativity in their music as well.
Interested in various genres of music apart from jazz, the members also perform with other bands. Ranging from funk, rock, pop, gypsy, electronics and many more, their music is more of improvisation leaving the audience wanting for more of their unconventional and spontaneous creations that never fail to surprise. No wonder they like calling their music Ozmic (rhyming with cosmic).
Being in a band that has created a niche of its own for the variation it provides and for the improvisation on the stage, it very important to have a great chemistry. “It’s very important to be comfortable sharing the stage and understanding other members while you are performing. We share a great chemistry especially because we come for the same background — music and are very serious about our passion. If you are passionate about your work and work hard to make it sound beautiful, then everything falls in its place. We have worked hard and when people come up to say we sounded as one man instead a band, we know we gave them what they were expecting from us,” says Stephane.
French men are known for being romantic and passionate, so does that concept reflect in their music? With a very sly smile he said, “Well, we can’t say much about romantic, but yes we are passionate and it reflects perfectly in any music we do.”
They will not only be performing for the Nepali jazz fans, but will also be collaborating with various Nepali and foreign artistes to give an unforgettable concert at Dhokaima Café on March 29 as a grand finale to hte Miles Music Festival. Very excited about the performance and sharing the stage with Nepali musicians, they praised the Nepali musicians saying all of them are very “talented and open to change”.
The band is here on the invitation of Allaince Française in Kathmandu. After their short stay in the valley the band will leave for India to perform in 10 different cities there.
The Ozma concert is being organised by KJC and supported by Alliance Française and Infinity International. It is a part of the Chevrolet Miles Music Festival.