15th Young Vocal Competition took place at Nardis Jazz Club on the 8th of January, 2019, and we have sent pianist Can Yapıcıoğlu and vocalist Dila Bahar to compete in Riga, Latvia, on the 7th of April, 2019. Two young musicians from Turkey also participated with their own means. Ceren Temel, who received an invitation through Nardis Young Jazz Competition two years ago, and Anıl Bilgen, who is currently completing his education in Wien, were among the participants this year.
The competition in Riga took place at a cinema theater in Riga, called “Splendid Palace” on the 4th of April. The focus of the competition this year was vocal and jazz categories and 25 competitors participated.
The jury close 6 among 13 vocalists for the finals. The number of the pianists in the final was 7.
Finalists in the Jazz Piano category:
- Rina Yamazaki (Japan)
- Lajos Tóth (Hungary)
- Anil Bilgen (Turkey)
- Elza Ozoliņa (Latvia)
- A Bu (China)
- Can Yapıcıoğlu (Turkey)
- Atis Andersons (Latvia)
Pianists in the Jazz Vocal category:
- Judyta Pisarczyk (Poland)
- Santa Šillere (Latvia)
- Ceren Temel (Turkey)
- Marianne Leibur (Estonia)
- Liselotte Östblom (Sweden)
- Ella Hohnen-Ford (England)
Members of the jury were; Ali Focan (Nardis Jazz Club, Turkey), Georgina Javor (Jazz at Lincoln Center, USA), Giuseppe Mormile (Venezia Jazz Festival, Italy), Hiroyuki Yamanaka (Tokyo Jazz Festival, Japan), Jonas Jučas (Kaunas Jazz Festival, Lithuania), Maria João (jazz singer, Portugal), Māris Briežkalns (Riga Jazz Stage, Rīgas Ritmi Festival, Latvia), Paul Pace (Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, England), Toivo Unt (Jazz Time Festival, Estonia) and Maestro Raimonds Pauls (Latvia).
The results of the competition were;
First place – Marianne Leibur (Estonia),
Second place – Liselotte Östblom (Sweden),
Third place – Judyta Pisarczyk (Poland).
Birinci – A Bu (China),
İkinci – Lajos Tóth (Hungary),
Üçüncü – Atis Andersons (Latvia).
Those who placed first in both categories received €1,500, and those who places second and third received €1,000 and €700.
Vocalist Marianne Leibur received the special Maestro Raimonds Pauls award this year. Those who placed first received a Korg metronome and the public’s choice Ceren Temel received a phone from the company “Tele 2”.
This year’s awards to play at the various jazz clubs were; “Rigas Ritmi Festival” (Latvia) – A Bu (China), Liselotte Östblom (Sweden); “Nardis Jazz Club” (Turkey) – Marianne Leibur (Estonia); “Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club” (England) – A Bu (China), Rina Yamazaki (Japan), Liselotte Östblom (Sweden); “Veneto Jazz Festival” (Italy) – Lajos Tóth (Hungary), Liselotte Östblom (Sweden); “Jazzkaar” (Estonia) – A Bu (China); “Sharing the stage with Euroradio Jazz Orchestra 2019” (Austria) – Elza Ozoliņa (Latvia); “Jazz Time Fest” (Estonia) – Judyta Pisarczyk (Polond); “Kaunas Jazz Festival” (Lithuania) – Judyta Pisarczyk (Poland).
We conducted a short interview with the public’s choice winner Ceren Temel.
You received the public’s choice award, it isn’t easy to win this. These awards usually go to the competitors from the host country. What do you think?
I think this was due to the support of my family and friends, I know I received votes from Germany as well. One competitor can only receive 2 votes a day. I would like to thank everyone from here.
What does the public’s choice winner receive?
Yes I received the latest model of iPhone as an award. I am really happy and I really needed one, too.
You participated in this competition by receiving an invitation through Nardis Young Jazz Competition. You competed for the second time through your own means. Did you feel experienced? What happened?
I participated with my own arrangement of one of the standards when I went there for the first time. I think I was unsuccessful due to that piece. But I sang the same piece during the competition at Nardis. Both places have different juries. There is an international jury there. I realized they expected something different. I saw those who placed as finalists were successful with ethnic pieces and different styles. I arranged the piece called “Yemen Türküsü”. I sang it at Nardis before the competition as well. I heard I was really successful during the initial eliminations. The other competitors came over, congratulated me and said they got really emotional. I saw the musician friends we played together with responding really well to it as well. Our music was well liked and appreciated. I learnt that I was in the finals after this, I was among the 6 who did.
Which instruments did the house band have?
There were guitar, piano, drums and bass. It was different than two years ago. They were very sincere and good. They supported me a lot. By the way, my rehearsal was recorded. It was in the news. They shot it during my rehearsal of Yemen Türküsü. This is followed by the Lithuanian competitor’s interview. My musician friends shot the rehearsal with their phones and posted these on their own pages.
This is how you get the public’s choice award. How great?
The finals were great for me too. I was surprised at first though. I wondered if I did something wrong. I was hoping to be in the top three. I wanted to thank Maris Briezkalns, the artistic director and founder of Riga Jazz Stage, for this award. He said they talked a lot about me as the members of the jury. They were undecided. They liked my first piece a lot but we found your second song different than the first. They probably wanted to hear another ethnic song. I understood they wanted a more harmonious repertoire. My colleague who placed the second sang pieces from her own album. She sang her own composition during the initial eliminations as well. It was a soul type of piece. She came second with a similar song during the finals. Ethnic songs are actually not my style at all. I like bebop, I like swing and I really enjoy singing in a modern style with the loop station. I think I am still in the process of learning all the other styles. I thought maybe I don’t quite have my own style yet after this competition, naturally. I learnt that you have to adapt for the certain competition. I think that is what I didn’t do. If I did something ethnical, I would be in the top three.
You were successful, and received your award. Congratulations. It is more important for us that you accumulate more experience rather than placing first. I think going there and singing there are victories on their own. How about the pianists, were they chosen with a separate competition?
7 pianists were in the finals. 6 vocalists among us were chosen for the finals as well. Only 13 people competed the next day. Performances were arranged so a pianist would perform after a vocalist. I couldn’t listen to everyone because we were in the backstage. I could only listen to Can but not Anıl. I think Can played a Fazıl Say piece in 7/8. I saw it received a lot of acclaim. I think the results depend on the tastes as well. There was only Maria Joao as a vocalist among the members of the jury. There was a bassist from Estonia. I think the results at Nardis were appropriate in this sense. I think I chose the right pieces that show off my technique. They were hard to sing pieces.