Bahrain’s beloved jazz festival has revealed a sparkling lineup of performing artists and other activities for the December 2 event.

Jazz enthusiasts and those seeking a day of fun and great music will gather at the Bahrain Rugby Football Club for the return of the BNP Paribas Bahrain Jazz Fest 2022 – a family-friendly occasion themed Jazz Unmasked.

The sixth edition of the festival, produced by Clockwork, has announced an outstanding lineup, including Grammynominated artists, stellar acts by local performers and a monthlong trail of events across various venues in Bahrain, as well as a school outreach programme to encourage young talent.

It will showcase 13 jazz bands across two stages. In addition, there will be food villages, day and night markets, featuring local micro businesses, designated interactive children’s areas and much more. Since its inception in 2017, the festival has attracted over 20,000 visitors and hosted more than 100 jazz musicians from Bahrain and around the world.


Raul Midón

American artist, Raul Midón is one of the most captivating, celebrated names in modern jazz. A singer, songwriter and guitarist, he is a two-time Grammy nominee for the releases Bad Ass & Blind and If You Really Want, each for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Blind since birth, Midón has collaborated with heroes such as Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder and Bill Withers. His fanbase stretches from San Francisco to India, Amsterdam to Tokyo and now Bahrain.

Louiz Banks Jazz Messengers

Grammy nominee Louis Banks is an international jazz icon, popularly known as godfather of the Indian Jazz scene. With a career spanning five decades, he has performed with many globally renowned musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie, Eddie Daniels, Dave Holland, Mike Stern, Ron Carter, Chris Porter, Tony Lakatos and more. He was co-producer of the Grammynominated album Miles From India, a tribute to the legendary Miles Davis. At the Jazz Fest, he will be playing along with some of the brightest stars of modern Indian Jazz – Gino Banks, Rhythm Shaw, Vasundhara Vee and Sheldon D’Silva.

Paul Lay Trio

Paul Lay is an award-winning jazz pianist from France who is a BNP Paribas Foundation supported artist. He is rated as one of the most exceptional, cutting-edge jazz pianists in Europe and will be playing with his trio. Together, they will open the BNP Paribas Stage.

Speakeasies’ Swing Band!

The Speakeasies’ Swing Band! (SSB) is a renowned Greek swing jazz band that has headlined and played at jazz festivals the world over. Since 2010, they have been touring Greece and performing at global festivals. SSB has shared a stage with notable artists such as Parov Stelar, Ray Collins, Cherry Poppin Daddies and Hillbilly Moon Explosion.

Arqam Al Abri

Arqam is a rising Emirati soul and blues star. A popular name at most regional festivals, he will be making his debut in the Kingdom with Bahrain Jazz Fest. Arqam will serenade the audience with a very special show of blues and soul with a twist of Arabic music.

Florence & The Bare Souls

A Bristol-based blues band fronted by Florence Pardoe, Florence & The Bare Souls features musicians who have worked with the likes of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Freyia, Ellie Ford and Backbeat Soundsystem. This up-and-coming British blues-funk band has performed on TV and at famous festivals such as Glastonbury, Boomtown, Shambala and Wilderness.


Malavita! are a UK-based band that will close out the BNP Paribas stage at Bahrain Jazz Fest. They have a unique sound, which fuses ska, Latin jazz and funk. The band will make their first ever international debut in Bahrain. Festivals they have played at include Boomtown, Isle of Wight and the Great Estate Festival.


Bahrain Jazz Collective

Formed specifically for this year’s Jazz Fest, the band features the all-star Bahraini jazz group of Ahmed AlQasim, Esraa J, Mohammed Rashid, Abdulla Haji, Abdulla Adnan and Khalid Alshamlan – regulars at the festival over the years in various bands.


Majaz is an earthy, four-piece fusion-folk band. Their progressivedriven mix of genres, forged by their unconventional blend of instruments, has been widely recognised, making them one of the island’s most unique musical acts. Formed in 2013, Majaz has been performing live for several years and released their first single in October 2016.


With their unique sound of blues, funk and fusion, the band will be playing some of their recently released original music for the first time to a live audience. They just came out with their first single Midnight Blooms and are a band that’s not to be missed.

Bahrain Chamber Orchestra

The Bahrain Chamber Orchestra (BCO) is a newly formed music group made up of 30 members. Led by Scott Rogal, the band will make their debut performance at the festival, exhibiting some showmanship, with a big band formation in New Orleans jazz and funk style.

American School of Bahrain Big Band

This outstanding, newly formed band is made up of students at the American School of Bahrain. They will be playing in a big band format, highlighting the jazz talent of Bahrain’s youth.

St. Christopher’s School Big Band

This band, comprising students from St. Christopher’s School, will be making their second appearance at the Bahrain Jazz Fest and promise to put on a soulful yet jazzy performance.

Jude D’Souza, Managing Director of Clockwork, said: “The BNP Paribas Jazz Fest has been a labour of our love for jazz and Bahrain. Our efforts have always been to curate a worldclass event that not only brings internationally acclaimed jazz musicians to Bahrain but also celebrates the often-overlooked local talent that Bahrain has to offer.

“Until now, we have pushed in excess of USD100,000 back into music communities through cash awards for locally talented musicians, artist fees and appearance engagements. Through our presenting partner, BNP Paribas, we are leveraging the continued growth of the festival to build a jazz culture among communities in Bahrain.

“Our recent strategic partnership with the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority has allowed us to attract tourists from all over the world to Bahrain through increased marketing and promotional activities. We are very excited and humbled to garner the support of our partners and sponsors, encouraging us to better the show year on year and ensure that the Bahrain Jazz Fest is a truly top-notch event for the Kingdom.”

Amine Bel Hadj Soulami, CEO of BNP Paribas for the Middle East and Africa said: “As dedicated jazz supporters, BNP Paribas is pleased to be the Presenting Partner for the Bahrain Jazz Fest for the sixth time in a row. We believe that jazz music brings people together and continually reinvents itself. The much-anticipated musical event in Bahrain will showcase a lot of new regional and international talents. We are particularly proud of the educational and community events that take place in the run up to the event, nurturing jazz amongst the young talents in Bahrain. The BNP Paribas Foundation has been supporting jazz for over 25 years in many countries all over the world, and Bahrain is firmly on our global calendar.”

Tickets for the event are priced at BD20 per person for those who are 15 years and above and BD10 for those between seven and 14 years, kids aged six years and under can enter for free. Anyone under the age of 18 years must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets are available online and in-store at Virgin Megastore. ✤

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