Paper Moon: Jazz in the City
Murakami and Jazz
Paper Moon: Jazz in the City brings together some of Malaysia’s finest musicians in two complementary back-to-back concerts. The second, Murakami and Jazz, presents a unique tribute to one of Japan’s greatest cultural icons, Haruki Murakami. As one of the best-known and most critically acclaimed writers working today, Murakami himself has had a lifelong love affair with all kinds of music, and especially jazz. His writing constantly draws inspiration and quotes from his favourite musicians. This unique multimedia concert combines three artistic elements: the narration of a specially written script based on Murakami’s words – from novels, short stories and essays – featuring Marina Tan and Gareth Richards as the two narrators; music directly referenced in Murakami’s texts and originals composed by Tay Cher Siang as a response to them, featuring WVC Jazz, Rizal Tony, Yow Weng Wai and singers Junji Delfino and Janet Lee; and a projected montage of images drawn from art and photography, including the work of leading Japanese artists. By presenting the interplay of words and music and images – as in a three-dimensional conversation – this concert draws attention to a sometimes overlooked facet of Murakami’s literary output and showcases the creative response of Malaysian performing artists to a great writer.
Co-sponsored by Japan Foundation Kuala Lumpur
About the Performing Group and Artists
Formed in 2006, WVC Jazz are one of Southeast Asia’s leading contemporary jazz bands. The group has toured extensively in the region, recalling the spirit of being on the road – the lifestyle of touring jazz bands of old. The present incarnation of WVC consists of bandleader/composer/arranger/music director/pianist Tay Cher Siang, bassist AJ Popshuvit and drummer Adriel Wong. WVC have released six instrumental albums of original music: WVC TRiO (2008), Eleven (2009), In the Dark, I See Her (2011), Waiting for That Day (2014), Do Not Go Gently (2016) and Give Thy Ear (2018). Their most recent album, Purnama (2021), revisits songs from the era of Malaysian independence and presents them in fresh contemporary arrangements. WVC won three awards at the prestigious BOH Cameronian Arts Awards in 2016 and a further two awards in 2020. The band also appeared briefly in the Hollywood film, Crazy Rich Asians.
Tay Cher Siang (Musical Director, keyboards)
Tay Cher Siang is one of Southeast Asia’s finest jazz pianists, composers, arrangers and producers, and currently lives in Kuala Lumpur. With an early training in classical music, he took up jazz in his teens and began a musical odyssey as a jazz pianist. He studied with the renowned teachers James Miltenberger and Paul Scea in the United States before returning to Malaysia to immerse himself in jazz education at a number of universities while also teaching at his private studio and giving masterclasses and jazz clinics. As a pianist and composer, Cher Siang has toured extensively, performing in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America with both the multinational band Unit Asia and with his own band WVC Jazz – one of Southeast Asia’s leading contemporary jazz ensembles.
Adriel Wong (Drums)
Adriel Wong graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor of Music from Universiti Sains Malaysia. Being an alumnus of the Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, he has received classical and contemporary orchestral music exposure. He actively pursues a full-time music career by engaging in projects with musicians locally and internationally, mainly as a jazz drummer. He is currently the drummer for WVC Jazz, and has been a sideman for notable musicians including Tay Cher Siang, Michael Veerapan, Julian Chan, Gabrielle Stravelli, Patrick O’Leary, Chi-Pin Hsieh, Kai-Ya Chang and Yuki Arimasa.
AJ Popshuvit (Bass)
AJ Popshuvit is a founder member and bassist of WVC Jazz, one of Southeast Asia’s leading contemporary jazz bands, with whom he has toured extensively in the region. With WVC, he has played on seven albums of original music, and won three awards at the prestigious BOH Cameronian Arts Awards in 2016 and a further two awards in 2020. He also appeared briefly with the band in the Hollywood film, Crazy Rich Asians.
Rizal Tony (Guitar)
Rizal Tony is a full-time music educator, jazz guitarist, musician, music director, music arranger and composer, affiliated with Universiti Teknologi MARA. He has collaborated widely with local and international musicians and artists working in jazz and popular music genres.
Yow Weng Wai (Saxophone)
Originally from Kota Kinabalu, Yow Weng Wai is a professional saxophonist performing and touring with many popular names in the Chinese pop music scene. When he is not touring, he also performs with Malaysian jazz bands such as Funkatorie, Urban Tribes and WVC Jazz.
Junji Delfino (Singer)
Junji Delfino is a name deeply etched in Malaysian jazz and performing arts circles. Born into a family whose name is synonymous with music in the Philippines, she has become a vocalist of critical and popular renown, developing a sound and a style all her own. A gifted songwriter, lyricist and composer, Junji has released two albums. Her solo album Here I Am (2010) received rave reviews both locally and internationally, and she released It’s Christmas Time Again (with David Gomes, 2014) to great popular acclaim. She has appeared at several jazz festivals, including the first edition of the KL International Jazz Festival in 2012, with performances in Southeast Asia and the United States. In addition, Junji won the Best Vocal Performer Award at the BOH Cameronian Arts Awards in 2012 for her tribute, Lush Life.
Janet Lee (Singer)
As a stage performer and vocalist, Janet Lee specialises in vintage music, regularly performing great songs from the 1920s to 1960s. Her unique musicality, vocals and stage presence deliver American songbook standards, Broadway show tunes, operatic arias, art songs, bossa nova and Shanghai jazz with inimitable flair and grace. Janet has released two studio albums: Restless Heart (2015) and Cinnabar Rouge (2017). She has staged and produced two solo concerts in conjunction with the album releases to packed houses and rave reviews. She is also a member of the Shang Sisters, Southeast Asia’s leading Shanghai jazz trio.
Marina Tan (Narrator)
Marina Tan is an actor and playwright inspired by stories of humanity. Her stage credits include What Am I, A Bloody Banyan Tree? (2016), The Italian Restaurant (2017) and The Glass Menagerie (2019). She has been nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the BOH Cameronian Arts Awards and is a former recipient of a Japan Foundation Kuala Lumpur grant for Momotaro, a project with children of diverse backgrounds. Other credits include onscreen, motion-capture acting and voice-overs.
Gareth Richards (Narrator)
Gareth Richards is a writer, editor and bookseller based in Penang. He is the founder of Impress Creative and Editorial, and Gerakbudaya Bookshop Penang, as well as co-founder of Hikayat. He is the author of Portraits of Penang: Little India (2011), Panicrama (2016) and Discourses, Agency and Identity in Malaysia (2021), among other publications. He previously performed with WVC Jazz in Listen to the Wind Sing: Murakami and Jazz (2019) and Music of Words (2020).
* Only those who are fully vaccinated (having received the second dose of vaccine after 14 days, or after 28 days for single-dose vaccines) are allowed to enter.
* Only children aged 13 years and above are allowed to enter.