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Top 3 jazz artists to watch in the Middle East

Jazz has a considerable impact in the Middle East, where it has been able to reinvent itself by immersing in a rich musical culture. As it’s World Jazz Day, KAWA offers you discover three contemporary jazz artists to follow.

Amira Kheir, Sudan

With a sound drawn from the traditional music of her native Sudan, and sprinkled with jazz, soul, African and oriental references, Amira Kheir has conquered a worldwide audience. Combining folk guitar and traditional instruments, the Italian-Sudanese woman brings her musical creations of rare finesse to life with a melodious and lively voice, a feat that earned him the nickname “La Diva du Désert”.

 

Tarek Yamani, Lebanon

In the Middle East, his jazz is said to be unifying and inclusive. By brilliantly combining African rhythms, Latin American music and Middle Eastern Maqam, Tarek Yamani has invented polyglot jazz. Born and raised in Beirut, this New-Yorkais of Lebanese origin is an authentic self-taught man. He only discoverd jazz when he was 19 years old. Since then, this songwriter-composer-pianist has toured the great American and world concert halls : the Smithsonian Institute (Washington, DC), the MuCEM Museum (Marseille), the United Nations Assembly Hall (NYC), Dar Al Athar Al Islamiyyyah (Kuwait), the Blue Whale (Los Angeles)… In 2013, he also launched Beirut Speaks Jazz, a unique platform to raise awareness of jazz in Lebanon. Thelonious Monk Composers Competition Award, Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Residency and the New Dutch composition contest.”

 

Le Trio Joubran, Palestine

In the Middle East, jazz is also played on the oud. The Joubran Trio has made it its signature. Coming from a family of oudists and luthiers with a worldwide reputation, Samir, Wissam and Adnan Joubran have traced their success to the rhythm of their skillful improvisations, sometimes joyful, sometimes heartbreaking, inspired by their native Palestine. Their repertoire is made up of original creations and magnificent improvisations, supported by an impressive knowledge of the culture of traditional Maqâms. The international group’s reputation has grown over the past decade, with a series of major performances, including at the Nyon Festival and Carnegie Hall in New York.