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A 100% women’s collective at the Amman Jazz Festival

As part of the Amman Jazz Festival, twenty groups and 77 musical artists from the region will perform from today until November 10. Coronavirus obliges, the performances will be broadcasted live on YouTube. And in the list of artists, there is a group that caught our attention …

They are called the Jordanian Women Artists Collective. Of course, the name lacks a little originality, but the group has other qualities it can be proud of. First of all, it has managed to create a place for itself in a world that is still particularly masculine, as Mai Sahli, guitarist and founder of the collective explains: “We have experienced a lot of sexism. They said we couldn’t do it, or that even if we managed to create something, it would end in failure,” she told The National. “Because we’re women, a lot of male musicians said we’d argue all the time and nothing would get done.

A heterogeneous group

And yet… Today, Mai Sahli is at the head of a collective of 24 musicians and singers with diverse backgrounds and inspirations: singers, percussionists, oud players, and other pianists, from different backgrounds, cafes in Amman, cultural centers in Jordan, the conservatory for some… They share the poster and carry together the project of releasing a joint album, currently scheduled for next year.

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All driven by the same passion, they also make the same observation: the construction of the collective was done “in a very organic way”. Mai Sahli, who has been involved in the local scene for a long time, simply activated her network and asked everyone to come, to bring their instrument, and “see how it goes”.

Talent to spare

And it turns out that it’s working. With talents as sharp as that of the young Yara al Nimr (the Jordanian-Palestinian is recognized as one of the first female conductors in the kingdom and has composed works for the Jordan National Symphony Orchestra, excuse the pun), the group has truly taken shape and expanded its repertoire. But as it is up to each one to make up their own mind on the matter, see you Saturday night at 8 pm Paris time on the live YouTube account of the event to discover the proposal of these talented artists.

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Published on 5 November 2020