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Jazzy Rhythms and Melodic Harmonies: Celebrating International Jazz Day in the Middle East

April 30, 2024
Photo Source: Paris Jazz Club

International Jazz Day, celebrated on 30 April, is a vibrant celebration of jazz as a catalyst for unity and cultural exchange. This year, we explore the unique blend of Middle Eastern jazz, highlighting talented artists and exciting upcoming events that will ignite people’s passion for this captivating genre.

Le Cri du Caire

Leading the way with their unique performances, Le Cri du Caire combines the expressive vocals of Abdullah Miniawy, the soulful saxophone melodies of Peter Corser, and the enchanting cello sounds of Karsten Hochapfel. Blending rock, jazz, oriental influences, spoken word, Sufi poetry, and philosophy, this trio transcends boundaries and captivates audiences with their metaphorical universe.

Photo Source: Murailles Music


Comprising Sam Shalabi, Sharif Sehnaoui, Maurice Louca, Mazen Kerbaj, Özün Usta, Tony Elieh, and Umut Çağlar, this Middle Eastern supergroup weave together Arab guitar rock, free jazz, krautrock, and psychedelic elements. Inspired by the legendary Egyptian guitarist Omar Khorshid, Karkhana’s evocative sound transports listeners to a 21st-century fusion of musical genres.

Photo Source: BIMHUIS

Rabih Abou-Khalil 

Hailing from Lebanon, Rabih Abou-Khalil is a masterful oud player and composer who seamlessly blends Arabic music with jazz, classical, and other styles. With a career spanning decades, he has earned acclaim as a true pioneer of world music. Abou-Khalil’s performances mesmerize audiences with their superb fusion of Middle Eastern flavors and the rhythmic grooves of jazz.

Photo Source: Stadtkonzerte

Toufic Farroukh

Saxophonist and composer Toufic Farroukh infuses jazz with a captivating Middle Eastern flair. Born in Beirut and now based in Paris, Farroukh’s musical journey began with the guidance of his saxophonist brother. His unique style, influenced by his Middle Eastern roots, brings a fresh perspective to the world of jazz.

Photo Source: So Beirut

Youssra ElHawary 

Youssra ElHawary is an accordionist, composer, songwriter, singer, and actress from Egypt. Her satirical compositions blend social and political commentary, captivating audiences with her vibrant stage presence and distinctive musical style.

Photo Source: beehype

The Egyptian Jazz Projekt

This jazz revival project takes audiences on a nostalgic journey through 1950s and 1960s Egyptian pop and film songs, seamlessly blended with American classics from the same era. Led by jazz vocalist HarfousH and performed by the HarfousH Jazz Band, this project breathes new life into beloved melodies, enchanting audiences around the world.

Photo Source: EFJ London

Featuring an impressive lineup of Arab Jazz musicians, the highly anticipated Cairo Jazz Festival (CJF) is an event you won’t want to miss. This multi-disciplinary international celebration pays homage to the rich history of jazz and serves as a platform for promoting the genre in Egypt and beyond. 

Established in 2009, CJF has become a vibrant gathering for jazz enthusiasts, and come November 2024, it will deliver an unforgettable experience on Cairo’s AUC Tahrir campus.