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Rabat to Host 26th Chellah Jazz Festival Mid-May

Morocco’s capital Rabat, “the City of lights,” will host Chellah Jazz Festival from May 10-12 in its historical site “Chellah”, with the participation of European and Moroccan artists, offering music lovers “a variety of sounds and moods that transcend borders,” as reads a press release by the EU Delegation in Morocco.

Coinciding with Europe Day, celebrated on May 9, the fest features various artistic and cultural encounters, making up “a universal language of emotion, sharing and peace.”

For this 26th edition, the organizers promise festival goers some exceptional musical moments, with an impressive line-up of artists performing enchanting concerts every evening at 8pm.

The night shows will showcase a concert by German trumpeter Markus Stockhausen, accompanied by musician and poet Aziz Sahmaoui, as well as a performance by French group Sarab and talented qanoun player Hiba Mekkaoui.

The program also includes an on-stage musical encounter between Spanish pianist Daniel Garcia and Oud wizard Driss El Maloumi, a specialist in Oriental and Amazigh melodies, as well as a performance by the Munsch Trio joined by Moroccan group Urban Folklore.

Elise Einarsdotter’s Ensemble, including modern jazz, Swedish folklore and the haunting voice of singer Léna Willemark, will harmoniously blend modern jazz with traditional Swedish music. The quintet will be joined by percussionist Zahra Regragui to color their musical journey with the warm rhythms of Morocco.

Italian group JEMM will be joined on stage by Maalem Mokhtar Gania, younger brother of the late Mahmoud Gania, a leading figure in Gnaoua music, and his two sons Houssam and Hamza Gania.

In addition to musical performances, the festival includes masterclasses for musicians and singers, led by Climène Zarkan, lead singer of Sarab group, Aziz Sahmaoui, Gnaoua singer and multi-instrumentalist, and Adrien Lambinet, trombonist and composer.

Audiences will also enjoy an itinerant concert, strolling through the streets of Rabat, and performed by the Salt group, with jazz melodies fusing swing, Latin, ska and Cajun.

EU Ambassador to Morocco, Patricia Llombart Cussac stated in the release that the world needs strong messages and tangible actions in favor of peace and understanding between peoples.

She added that the harmony and union offered by this festival – which is an ode to European jazz and Moroccan music – embody the partnership between Morocco and the European Union, particularly in its human and cultural dimensions.