The inaugural Riyadh International Jazz Festival brings Chaka Khan to Diriyah

The event will take place from 7 to 9 February.

Riyadh has witnessed a remarkable transformation in its music landscape. The capital has been home to numerous festivals and concerts, from Gamers8 to MDLBeast Soundstorm. Now, the inaugural Riyadh International Jazz Festival promises to be yet another defining moment for the capital’s evolving music scene. 

Taking place from 7 to 9 February at the Mayadeen Theatre in Diriyah, the festival’s lineup features internationally acclaimed artists, including the Queen of Funk Chaka Khan, Australian jazz-funk sensation The Cat Empire, TrapHouseJazz pioneer Masego, and the soulful Australian quartet Hiatus Kaiyote.

Known for her four-octave vocal range and ten Grammy Awards, Chaka Khan is a musical powerhouse whose career has spanned over five decades. She rose to fame as the lead singer of the legendary funk band Rufus, belting out iconic hits like Tell Me Something Good and Sweet Thing before embarking on a solo career in 1978. Her hits include I’m Every Woman and the Grammy-winning I Feel for You

Blending a genre-bending cocktail of jazz, funk, ska, reggae, and even Latin and Eastern influences, The Cat Empire, led by Felix Riebl have released seven studio albums and are known for the tracks Brighter Than Gold, Silhouettes and The Chariot.

Masego, the saxophone-wielding alchemist of sound, defies easy categorisation with his blends of hip-hop, jazz, house, and soul into a genre he calls “TrapHouseJazz.” Born Micah Davis in 1993, this Jamaican-American’s hits include Lady Lady and Tadow.

Hiatus Kaiyote has been warping musical expectations since 2011. Fronted by the Nai Palm, their sound blends elements of R&B, jazz, funk, and psychedelia across popular tracks like Chivalry, Molasses and Nakamarra. They’ve garnered critical acclaim worldwide from collaborations with artists like Kendrick Lamar and Q-Tip.

The British jazz ensemble Kokoroko, known for their dynamic fusion of influences, and the multi-talented saxophonist and composer YolanDa Brown, who blends jazz with reggae and soul, will also be joining the festival.

Riyadh International Jazz Festival will also shine a spotlight on the burgeoning talent within the Arab music scene, with Synthpop artist Fulana, Saudi jazz-fusion band Garwasha, and Bahraini Afro-Khaleeji band Majaz bringing their talents to the stage.

The Jazz Cafe, featuring renowned clarinettist Peter Long and his orchestra, serves as a delightful side stage, offering a rotating lineup of vocalists to complement the main acts. 

Tickets for the Riyadh Jazz Festival are on sale now and start at SAR 120. 

GO: Visit for more information.

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Shaheera Anwar - Staff Writer
From a beautiful childhood in Riyadh to a calm and collected life in Dubai. When she's not busy penning her latest masterpiece, you can catch Shaheera lounging with her family or binging on the latest movies. And as a millennial, she's got her sights set on TikTok - hoping to go viral someday (fingers crossed).

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