Artists return to live performances with Amman jazz event

Amman jazz (1)
Hijazz performs at the Amman Jazz Festival during an event organized on one of the city’s iconic staircases. (Photos: Nabeeh Dababneh)
AMMAN — The Amman Jazz Festival held the third edition of its “Music on the stairs” on Friday on Al-Kalha stairs in Jabal Luweibdeh and Saturday on Bisan Stairs in Ashrafieh.اضافة اعلان

The event was held in cooperation with the Goethe-Institute, and included live performances by local artists.

“The stairs connect Amman’s mountains with downtown, and people used to enjoy their times on these stairs, so we wanted to revive this tradition,” said Lama Hazboun, the manager and organizer of the event.

“We love to support local talents and street performances; they are very creative usually so we help them find a venue where they can perform, which is why a lot of our events are in stairs or public spaces,” said Shima Al-tal, the director of the cultural department at the Greater Amman Municipality. 

Tayar was the first band to perform at the event, with the police supervising to make sure everyone was abiding by COVID-19 restrictions. 

Tayar was followed by the band Hijazz, which is a local four-member band known for their special and unique style that mixes classical Arabic singing with jazz rhythms, resulting in beautiful tunes. 

“I was really happy seeing people attending events again to enjoy music and the different performances. It gives you a feeling that life is getting back to normal, most places are reopening and coming back to life,” the band’s lead singer, Ramz Sahouri said.

Hijazz performs at the Amman Jazz Festival during an event organized on one of the city’s iconic staircases. (Photos: Nabeeh Dababneh)

The artist said that last year they threw the event online, due to health restrictions, adding that she “missed seeing people’s faces and reactions to her singing live.” 

The singer also said that the event was “heartwarming, filled with joy and overwhelming.”

“I wish we had a larger venue, or a more spacious place than the stairs; it was narrowed and kind of crowded; at first I felt like I was singing to a wall — a wall was my view — but I totally understand that it would have been harder to find a wider set of stairs, the whole point of the event is to perform on a set of stairs you know,” she added laughing. 

Moawiyah Abu Taleb, who was at the event, noted that “the space was an issue in a way for the audience; not everyone was able to get a clear view, yet the small space on the stairs made it feel cozier.” 

  Octave, another local band consisting of five members who usually perform local Jordanian, Palestinian, and even Syrian music, and utilize traditional instruments and folklore into their music, wrapped up the event. 

According to Ahmad Selawy, the founder of Octave, what makes the band’s music stand out is that “it is the first local band using both folklore and modern music in their songs; the older generation can relate to the traditional music, and the youth can relate to the music with fast and upbeat beats,” he said.

Selway comes from an artistic family, his father was a local singer that also used to play instruments like the oud. “I used to join him in parties to perform, so I would say I got the genes to love music from my father; that is why I made the band,” he said.

“Honestly the (Music on the Stairs) event, is the best event I have attended in a while. I think that is because the space between us and the audience was small while performing, and I love being close to them; I get their positive energy and good vibes,” the performer said. 

“Another thing about this particular event, is that it felt like a jamming session, it reminded me of the Ramadan nights and eid; we always get together to jam” he said. “The event was also well organized, people were friendly and happy, in addition to the fact that it was all free of charge, no tickets,” he added.

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