Top line-up of international stars set for Cairo jazz festival

Updated 03 October 2019

Top line-up of international stars set for Cairo jazz festival

DUBAI: Top musicians from around the world are tuning up for the start of this year’s popular Cairo Jazz Festival.

The event, being staged at The American University in Cairo’s (AUC) Tahrir Cultural Center from Oct. 10-12, will celebrate its 11th edition with an exciting line-up of stars from nine different countries.

Festivalgoers will be able to watch movie screenings, musical shows, and jazz concerts for all ages.

The event will take place at The American University in Cairo’s Tahrir Cultural Center from Oct. 10-12. (Cairo Jazz Festival)

Headline acts will include the Fischermanns Orchestra from Switzerland, award-winning Dutch drummer Lucas van Merwijk, Netherlands-based Artvark Saxophone Quartet and Arab artists such as Jordanian musician Aziz Maraka, Egyptian band The Gypsy Jazz Project, and rock group Wust El-Balad.

Fischermanns Orchestra is always on the move, musically free and footloose, drawing upon many different cultural influences and inspiration to form its own distinctive sound. In 2014, the group was honored with the Lucerne Jazz Award.

Merwijk has been at the forefront of the European jazz and percussion scene for more than 25 years. He teaches at the conservatories of Rotterdam and Amsterdam and gives workshops, masterclasses and lessons throughout Europe and America.

The Artvark Saxophone Quartet has made remarkable collaborations with American jazz legend Peter Erskine, Senegalese drummer Doudou Rose and Danish rock band Efterklang.

Ticket are priced from $12 to $41. (Cairo Jazz Festival)

Jordanian music composer, songwriter, singer and producer Maraka is expected to sing some of his popular jazz hits. Maraka is known for his eclecticism, with music ranging from acoustic piano and violin combinations to purely electronic tracks.

Cairo-based band The Gypsy Jazz Project will perform pieces influenced by the melodies of Belgian guitarist Django Reinhardt and French violinist Stephane Grappelli.

Meanwhile, Wust El-Balad’s tracks produce an astonishing blend of sounds, combining traditional Arabic music with a Western twist.

The festival will also offer opportunities for children with several workshops and masterclasses aimed at providing an introduction to the art of jazz and its storied history.

While most of the events will take place at the AUC, there will be fringe concerts and activities happening around the city, including the Cairo Jazz Club.

Ticket are priced from $12 to $41 and can be purchased at

Meet Now United’s new Arab member, Nour Ardakani

Updated 24 September 2020

Meet Now United’s new Arab member, Nour Ardakani

DUBAI: After Lebanese teen Nour Ardakani joined the global music group Now United to become the band’s 16th member – and its first Arab – we spoke to the upcoming star to find out more about her and her new venture. 

The 18-year-old artist, who shares singing covers on Instagram playing her piano and ukulele, said that the group got in touch with her after watching her clips on social media.

“They contacted me and they asked me if I can send in tapes of me singing and dancing. Then they kept asking me to send in more, and then we are here now,” the artist told Arab News.

Ardakani was hand-picked by Simon Fuller, the man who managed popular British girl band The Spice Girls and created “American Idol.”

During a video call, which Ardakani shared on Instagram, Fuller told the singer and dancer: “I think you are absolutely wonderful, and I think you would be perfect to join the group. And I would like to invite you to be the next member of Now United.”

“Seriously, it’s me? You picked me?” asked Ardakani, to which Fuller replied: “You got it.”

When speaking about the moment she got the news, she said she was not expecting the group to pick her out from the thousands of people who auditioned.

All through the audition process, which took three weeks, Ardakani thought she was not going to get it. “I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t process everything because I knew what a big responsibility it is, and it is crazy to be able to represent the whole MENA region,” she said. “I don’t know how I got it.”

Nour Ardakani has already started recording a single with the band. (Supplied)

How did Ardakani discover her passion?

She said she had always had it from a very young age: “My parents saw that in me. Then, they put me into dance, and then they put me into singing lessons.”

The singer is at college, studying nutrition and business – two fields that are different to what she is doing now.

“Singing and dancing have always been my passion and I would love to continue doing that for the rest of my life. Education is really important to me, and I want to have that for myself, and if I end up doing (nutrition and business) in the future it’s going to help,” she said.

Ardakani has got no time to spare. She has already started recording a single with the band.


Imagine all of our faces when we are back together! Uniters what will your reaction be? - SAVANNAH

A post shared by NOW UNITED (@nowunited) on

When speaking to her group-mate, Australian singer and performer Savannah Clarke, she said: “I feel that having a member from this region is so important because it will help Now United grow, and it will show our fans that Now United is truly a global pop group.”

“It will bring more cultures into it,” she added. “You learn so much just by being with Now’s 16 members from all around the world.”