A date with jazz


The Royal Jazz Fest is Bahrain’s first international jazz festival which showcases local as well as global artists

“At last! Bahrain’s very own jazz festival and I’m very proud and excited to be a part of it. Bahrain’s music scene and audience have been longing for such an event and it’s finally here,” says Ahmed Al-Qasim, a Bahraini jazz artist.

Jazz lovers in Bahrain are in for a month-long treat as several international and local Bahraini jazz bands are coming together to celebrate jazz music. Curated as a one-month long celebration of jazz, The Royal Jazz Fest is Bahrain’s first international jazz festival showcasing jazz artists from Bahrain and around the world. The festival kicks off with jazz workshops and gigs planned in different venues across the island throughout September featuring several local jazz bands and musicians.

“Bahrain’s annual event calendar, already brimming with world-class talent, continues to grow with the introduction of the Royal Jazz Festival. The Bahrain Economic Development Board is proud to be a partner of the festival and looks forward to sampling the vast selection of international talent scheduled for the event,” says Jerad Bachar, Executive Director of Tourism and Leisure at the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB). He believes that the festival will provide an excellent opportunity for Bahrain’s residents and visitors to enjoy live jazz music.

The highlight of the fest will be its open air jazz festival when various jazz artists from across the world will share the same stage. Taking place on October 6 at the Royal Golf Club on its unique driving range, the event will cover all genres of music, from blues to jazz, ska to electro swing. While the international lineup includes Speakeasies Band from Greece, Swing Zazou from the United Kingdom, The SkaVengers from India, Electric Swing Circus from the UK, Ahmed AlQasim, Mohammed Rashid and Captain Tea are the local acts performing.

While The Speakeasies Swing Band is one of Greece’s favourite swing bands who made their first appearance in May 2010, Swing Zazou are specialists in recreating the charm of 30s & 40s and Gypsy Swing are known for live mixing of beats.

The SkaVengers is a New Delhi-based band which blends ‘ska’ rhythms with elements of dub, punk, jazz and rap. When it comes to local talents, Ahmed AlQasim is a known name in the Arab jazz circuit; Captain Tea, aka Tarik Omar, forayed into music more than 20 years ago and Mohammed Rashid infuses contemporary renditions of both Arabic and Western classics in his jazz music.

There are even plans to make the Royal Jazz Fest a yearly event. “This initiative has been under planning for over a year together with our Royal Jazz Fest partners, the Royal Golf Club and BMMI,” says Jude D’Souza, Managing Partner of Clockwork, Royal Jazz Fest Partner.


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