MahraJazz is an independent Jazz festival in Palestine. Founded in Haifa in 2017 by individuals working in various fields, MahraJazz aims to introduce the best of the international Jazz scene to diverse Palestinian crowds, and vice-versa.
Since the debut in 2017, MahraJazz facilitates an alternative Palestinian cross-Atlantic platform that allows Jazz musicians and enthusiasts - from the Arab world, locally and internationally alike - to meet, connect and exchange knowledge.
The project's field of work aims at creating an autonomous zone where culture production is un-governed or controlled by constitutional, governmental nor institutional, physical or mental occupation bodies or approaches.
The name MahraJazz is a wordplay derived from Mahrajan and Jazz. Mahrajan in Arabic means Festival, Celebration.
As the collective of MahraJazz, we believe in music and art as the highest forms of human expression.
We see there is great similarity between the Palestinian society and the African-American one in terms of dealing with hardships. Jazz is an approach - a way of life and a philosophy, created as a reactionary language to the inhumane injustices the African communities faced in the United States.
Despite all, Jazz is a language and a voice that embodies essential and universal core beliefs; freedom, liberation, communication, resilience and empowerment. It is an output of a long struggle that manifested in its creation.
We see Palestine as a culturally rich, diverse and spiritual place; despite its occupation and the ongoing colonialism it is under, we tend to celebrate life in the smallest details such as music, food, and attire instead of mourn our immediate challenges.
We believe that through Jazz, we can learn how to communicate with one another and express the range of complex emotions we feel, in order to create a stronger, more undefiable Palestine.
For this we see Jazz music as a sign of hope - what can be created under rigid circumstances and struggles. This is how MahraJazz was born into life.
Aims & Objectives
MahraJazz introduces an alternative music scene to the local Palestinian community and highlights different music genres in Palestine, and thus functions as a bridging point in the production and organization of a new music culture that appeals to diverse crowds.
It facilitates the development of producing and consuming of jazz music by giving a stage for both local and international jazz musicians to share knowledge and to network through.
It poses an alternative for international musicians to divert from performing in support of Israeli foreign and interior colonial policies.
And contributes to the importance of the Palestinian effort to boycott Israel and presents international musicians with a way to play an active role in this effort.
Doing so without limiting the progression of Palestinian music culture nor disconnecting it with external cultures. Allowing it to continue growing richer and more diverse.
MahraJazz is an excellent framework for different music enthusiasts and audiences to bridge gaps between, and get introduced to both the mainstream and the local underground Palestinian music and culture production scene.
We aim to expand geographically
one step at a time with every upcoming edition. We believe that culture, arts and knowledge should be accessible to all and not only to communities living in central areas. We hope to reach as many diverse cities, towns and villages in Palestine as we can; celebrating a united Palestine with disregard to colonial borders.
To appeal to all Palestinian audiences despite class differences. That will be achieved by self sustainability alongside working harder each year in fundraising to make the festival possible and affordable for each individual.
Annual expansion of our networks in order to enforce the welfare of Palestinian culture production. Each year we outreach to as many institutes, businesses, funds, cultural centers and initiatives and associations in order to form collaborations and promote cooperation.
We hope to upgrade our educational programs in terms of offering a wider range of workshops and masterclasses, film screenings and a jazz classes program; which we have been constructing for two years now. These programs aim to create a local Jazz scene that is up to par with the international one.
MahraJazz was founded by 7 individuals working in various fields of arts, knowledge production and culture. Jameel Mattar, Tamer Qais,
Nizar Mattar, Haitham Haddad,
Lama Suleiman, Hanan Darawsha & Adam HajYahia.
Nowadays the MahraJazz