The participation of three American bands’ in this year’s festival recalls six decades of “jazz diplomacy,” going back to Louis Armstrong’s visit to Egypt in 1961, the U.S. ambassador to Egypt said.
Three groups from the United States were among the performers at this year’s festival.
In his speech at the opening ceremony, Jonathan Cohen, the U.S. ambassador to Egypt, said the American bands’ participation recalled six decades of “jazz diplomacy,” going back to Louis Armstrong’s historic visit to Egypt in 1961. That trip is celebrated in an iconic photograph of jazz legend playing the trumpet for his wife in front of the Great Sphinx of Giza.
Farouk said that in the time separating Armstrong’s visit from the young bands participating in this year’s Cairo Jazz Festival, one could trace the continuing evolution of this musical genre over the years.
“Jazz has its own charm, like a wide sea of multi-colours and tunes,” said Farouk. “This can be seen in the concerts of this year’s jazz festival.”
Besides the three American bands, there was strong European presence this year, with about ten bands from Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands and Luxembourg sponsored by the European Union’s programme in Egypt.
The Sudanese musician Tariq El Hawy made a first appearance at the Cairo festival, as did Banah, the Palestinian singer from Bahrain.
In her show “Tribute to the Divas”, Banah presented songs by many female jazz artists from the Arab and Western world. “I was happy with the show because I sang in a variety of ways, in more than one style, and in more than one language,” she said in an interview with Al-Fanar Media.