Newly formed Jazz band chosen as front figure for Danish promotion in China

Photo: Lucas Illanes

The newly established Danish jazz trio Kemaca Kinetic, consisting of Casper Hejlesen (guitar), Matias Fischer (drums), and Kenneth Dahl Knudsen (bass) had only existed for a month when they received the news that been selected to play a virtual concert in China in connection with International Jazz Day 2021.

The concert has been created in a collaboration between the Danish Embassy in China, JazzDanmark, and China’s largest jazz club BlueNote in Beijing and Kemaca Kinetic will play the concert together with jazz singer Sinne Eg. The concert will be presented on a big screen at BlueNote on 30 April and it will also be live-streamed via Chinese streaming services.

According to bassist Kenneth Dahl Knudsen, the concert is a huge opportunity for a new band and he could not have imagined a better start for Kemaca Kinetic. To local media Nord Jyske, he says, “The live stream is a back door to a huge market. It is always difficult to get into a new country, because it requires lots of contacts and that you start in small places and work your way up. Playing on BlueNote is a hallmark that guarantees one’s quality and opens all doors from the start.”

“I see us as a band that will tour a lot. I think we have a new sound, and I can see ourselves as a flagship for Denmark abroad – we want to give it full throttle with tours and recordings,” Kenneth Dahl Knudsen says.

Kenneth Dahl Knudsen has previously toured Japan five times which unlike China has a long tradition of jazz. Japan adopted the jazz culture from the Americans after the occupation and later from cruise ships used musicians and invited Japanese on board. Jazz is however relatively new in China, a country where the government up until a few years ago had to approve all new music released in the country. That is not the case anymore and especially the younger Chinese generation is very interested in Jazz.

Martin Jensen, who is part of the Danish task force, which for the past ten years has worked intensely to establish a close network between Chinese actors and Danish jazz musicians says to Nord Jyske, “China has not been used to the free and improvised that characterizes jazz, and for the many young people who are interested in Western and American culture, jazz is something exciting and exotic.”

Martin Jensen says that the international competition to enter the Chinese market has already become fierce but he can see the difference their collaborations with the Danish Rock Consultation and actors in China on tours, visiting programs, and networking makes. “We aim to create a stage for Danish jazz musicians in Asia, and some have started to get a large audience there, for example, the jazz singer Sinne Eg, who has been on several tours and has built up an audience. It is a huge market and a huge potential,” he says and refers to the artists within other music genres who have experienced great success in Asia.

China has according to Kenneth Dahl Knudsen the prospect of becoming the world’s largest music market and he hopes to tour for Kemaca Kinetic in China already in the fall.

About Mette Larsen

ScandAsia Journalist • Scandinavian Publishing Co., Ltd. • Thailand

View all posts by Mette Larsen

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