Cairo Jazz Festival Reaches out to Local and
The fourth annual Cairo Jazz Festival opens
this week with musical performances, film
screenings, and workshops
By Rowan El Shimi Ahram March 13, 2012
With the slogan "Egypt is Fine" to encourage tourism
and cultural activity, the Cairo Jazz Festival is back
for a fourth time, bringing jazz music to Egyptian
society from 15 to 17 March.
"We want to use this international event to send a
message to the whole world that Egypt is fine," Amro
Salah, a jazz musician and the festival's founder, told
Ahram Online. "Cultural events are happening as the
movement continues," he added.
The lineup includes 14 bands and more than 100
musicians from 9 countries including Egypt, Japan, the
USA, Portugal, Syria, Austria, Holland, Australia, and
The non-profit three-day festival will include musical
performances at El Sawy Culturewheel's different halls,
along with the "Jazz After Hours" Programme that is set
to take place at the Cairo Jazz Club and the hosting
Each year, the festival pays tribute to a major jazz
figure who has influenced the genre. In previous years
they have commemorated key figures from the region such
as Omar Khairat and Ziad Rahbani. This year they will
be celebrate Dutch drummer Han Bennink for his 50 years
of contributing to the modern jazz scene, awarding him
a lifetime achievement trophy.
Bennink will also be leading a "drum circle" along with
the school of Al-Darb Al-Ahmar and with audience
members and musicians who wish to participate in this
workshop. There will be other musical workshops
happening throughout the duration of the festival.
This year, Salah's Jazz band "Eftekasat" are
celebrating their tenth anniversary. The Cairo Jazz
Festival will also be celebrating ten years of
underground music through film screenings, a
photography exhibition of underground bands, and
"We would like to see underground music reach more
audiences and build a history," Salah explained.
"We want to spread jazz culture in Egypt, and to
preserve the jazz heritage."
According to Salah, the festival's purpose is to create
a bridge between young and established musicians, along
with spreading awareness to the public on the social
interaction that comes with attending live musical
"Jazz equals freedom," Salah stated. "Jazz is full of
spontaneity and improvisation; what is in your heart
comes out on stage; beats are wild; you can never
expect what is going to happen."
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