The BNP Paribas Jazz Fest Returns on April 26

by BTM

Mon, 11 March 2024

The BNP Paribas Jazz Fest Returns on April 26

As anticipation mounts for the upcoming 7th edition of the BNP Paribas Bahrain Jazz Fest on April 26, music enthusiasts worldwide eagerly await a spectacular showcase of talent and cultural fusion. Kristian Harrison spoke to Jude D’Souza, Managing Director of Clockwork, the owning company of the event, about this annual extravaganza promising a jazz journey unlike any other.

“The BNP Paribas Bahrain Jazz Fest never fails to excite with its diverse lineup,” Mr D'Souza enthusiastically shares. “This year, we're thrilled to feature talents like British-Bahraini jazz star Yazz Ahmed, the award-winning saxophonist Igor Butman Quintet featuring the renowned Fantine and Yilian Cañizares, one of the most incredible talents of the new generation of Cuban musicians. And keep an eye out for our top-secret collaboration – it's going to be something truly special!"

This year, the festival coincides with International Jazz Day on April 30. Reflecting on the festival's role in celebrations, Mr D'Souza believes that the festival has always been a bridge between Bahrain and the world for jazz and blues.

“We pride ourselves in being the only musical showcase in Bahrain that highlights both Bahraini and international acts on the same stage, sometimes even together,” he states. “This year’s theme, ‘Jazz for All, All for Jazz,’ reflects how jazz brings everyone from all ages and ethnicities together.”

Beyond the main event, the festival organisers have planned a series of community outreach initiatives aimed at promoting jazz appreciation throughout the month of April. From workshops and jazz shows to interactive experiences, these activities seek to engage local communities and foster a deeper connection with the art form.

Mr D'Souza, emphasising the importance of community engagement, says: "Our outreach events and workshops aim to ignite a passion for jazz among Bahrain's diverse communities. We want everyone to experience the magic of live music and appreciate its cultural significance.

"We put the same important on our curatorial process, too. Selecting artists is a labour of love, starting up to a year in advance and involving a number of brainstorming and listening sessions with our artistic committee. We strive for balance – acts with popular crowd appeal, award-winning international stars, integrating local Bahraini talent, and all while ensuring gender parity. It's a meticulous process that culminates in a lineup that truly represents the essence of jazz."

Key partnerships with organisations like BNP Paribas, Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority, and the Royal Golf Club have been instrumental in bringing the festival to life year after year, alongside main sponsors like Beyon Money, Intercontinental Hotel Bahrain and co-sponsors Foodvest Holding.

“The continued success of the festival is due to the strong trust that our partners have in Clockwork’s ability to consistently deliver,” believes Mr D’Souza. "Ever since our humble beginnings in 2017, the festival has been a platform for jazz promotion within communities. We are proud to have provided a much-needed platform for Bahrain’s talented jazz and blues bands while also supporting the growth of local musicians. With each passing year, we see the festival's influence grow, attracting both local and international acclaim. We're committed to continued growth and innovation. In fact, we will also be announcing our new scholarship programme in the second half of 2024 which will be open to Bahrain’s youth who are interested in pursuing jazz.

"As we celebrate International Jazz Day, we celebrate jazz's universal language. It's a reminder that no matter where we come from, music has the power to unite us all. Whether you're a jazz aficionado or a newcomer, there's something here for everyone and of all ages.”

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