Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 January 2020

Cairo Jazz Festival kicks off with a line-up of local and international artists

Egyptian band Wust El Balad and Swiss Fischermanns Orchestra will perform at the three-day event

Jordanian singer Aziz Maraka will perform at the Cairo Jazz Festival on Friday, October 11. Courtesy Aziz Maraka
Jordanian singer Aziz Maraka will perform at the Cairo Jazz Festival on Friday, October 11. Courtesy Aziz Maraka

For its 11th year, the Cairo Jazz Festival isbringing artists from nine countries – including Egypt – for a three-day carnival of music, film screenings and workshops held across four different venues. Chief among them is the Tahrir Cultural Centre, as organisers plan on luring audiences to the recently inaugurated space in Cairo’s downtown for the opening and closing concerts, as well as several gigs in between.

This year’s lineup includes commercially acclaimed Egyptian artists such as the pioneering, multi-genre band Wust El Balad, longtime jazz ensemble Eftekasat, and the enchanting storyteller, singer-songwriter and accordionist Youssra El Hawary, as well as newcomers such as The Gypsy Jazz Project, among other acts.

Band members Hany Adel, Ahmad Omar, Asaad Nessim, Wael El Sayed, Ahmad Omran, Mizo Gamal, Bob Abdelhamid and Mounir Maher. Courtesy Wust El Balad
Local Egyptian band Wust El Balad are among the performers at the Cairo Jazz Festival. Courtesy Wust El Balad

Acclaimed international acts include Fischermanns Orchestra from Switzerland, the Austrian quintet Birds Against Hurricanes, and popular Jordanian rock-jazz musician Aziz Maraka, who has a massive fanbase in Egypt.

Despite limited funding resources, the Jazz Festival is one of Egypt’s long-standing annual music events. Launched in 2009, it is the brainchild of Amro Salah, an established musician and founder of the band Eftekasat, which will be performing as part of the festival’s after-hours programme Beyond Stage, hosted at the Cairo Jazz Club where the band belted out its debut performance back in 2002.

Although not all participating artists can be classified as ‘jazz’ musicians, organisers have often given precedence to hosting artists with a wide following over staying true to the genre, by way of keeping the festival alive and luring jazz newbies who will likely only be pulled into the festival upon seeing known, non-jazz bands in the lineup.

The Cairo Jazz Festival has been previously headlined by Algerian singer Souad Massi, Lebanon’s Rima Khcheich, popular Iraqi oud player Naseer Shamma, and Egypt’s veteran composer and pianist Omar Khairat.

The Cairo Jazz Festival takes place from Thursday, October 10 to Saturday, October 12. For more information about the festival, visit cairojazzfest.com.

Updated: October 10, 2019 12:01 PM