Five acts to check out at Amman Jazz Festival: From female collectives to Armenian folk

The event will this year stream all performances on its YouTube page

Jordanian Female Artist Collective, featuring singer Rula Bassil, will perform as part of Amman Jazz Festival. Instagram
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Amman Jazz Festival is the latest regional music event to go online. Returning for its ninth year next month, the home-grown gathering has become a premiere showcase of Jordan's vibrant music scene.

Running from Thursday, November 5, to Tuesday, November 10, the festival’s YouTube page will stream performances from 15 bands shot in various sites across the city. The shows will begin from 8pm UAE time each night.

While it might not be quite the same as experiencing a set in person, the online format provides international audiences an opportunity to experience leading acts from Jordan’s strong independent music community.

The festival will be split into two programmes: the main performances and a digital side stage, which will be home to the Musiqa 3al Daraj concert series. Co-organised by the Goethe-Institut Jordanien, the event is made up of pioneering acts from the kingdom.

"What we are aspiring for is to rethink the new now, the new tomorrow and come up with alternative solutions in these challenging times," festival founder Lama Hazboun said.

“Our mission is to move the industry forward by supporting the local independent music scene, through providing the opportunities needed for musicians to flourish."

Here are five acts to look out for:

1. The Jordanian Female Artist Collective

A formidable outfit, The Jordanian Female Artist Collective is a 12-piece band that blends virtuosity with verbiage. Viewing their gigs more as conversations than performances, their show will use jazz as jump-off point for exploring everything from poetry to the traditional music of the Levant.

2. Hrag Mouradian

The sextet presents a reimagining of Armenian folk through the fusion of jazz and funk arrangements. The star of the show, however, will undoubtedly be the stirring notes of the duduk, an ancient Armenian double reed woodwind instrument made of apricot wood. Hearing its soaring notes over funk beats will be a joy to behold.

3. Jurf Gentlemen

Led by brothers Yazan and Omar Jurf, the group will unveil a new project called Halim-Sinatra. The band's music aims to channel the cross-cultural beauty of both artists – Abdel Halim Hafez and Frank Sinatra – through songs that fuse classical Arabic pop and jazz music.

4. Khaled Tawfiq Ensemble

This performance promises a meeting of mind and body. In his show Almas (translated to mean soul), guitarist and composer Khaled Tawfiq will lead his band in a string of songs harnessing the rhythms of flamenco music with the spirituality of classic Levant folk.

5. Octave

Performing as part of the Musiqa 3al Dara programme, the veteran band celebrates their heritage by injecting visceral rock energy into decades-old traditional songs taken from Jordan's Sahel Horan region.

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