Berlin’s XJAZZ! Festival is a celebration of jazz as freedom, its roots in Black culture, and the growing local scene of artists in Berlin exploring and elaborating on the meaning of jazz. In its 10th edition, the festival brings together local and international voices from the broad spectrum of the genre. What do they have in common? The urge to foster a community around liberatory music making and breaking the boundaries of Western-centric understanding of jazz. From 6-12 May, the XJAZZ! spreads across the neighborhood of Kreuzberg with several locations and events ranging from concerts to DJ sets and workshops.

Get to know some of the interesting acts coming to perform this year by catching up with the interviews we did with them in the past. Dumama, who we met as part of the duo dumama + kechou back in 2020 wrote about their experience at the festival last year and is part of the opening event taking place on 6 May. The Entangled Grounds Live experience unites voices from the Berliner jazz community like the Sonic Interventions band, Sera Kalo,and dumama. The duo Modha who we spoke to about mental health in the music industry come together on 10 May with Sedric Perry and K.ZIA, both of whom we have spoken to around recent releases. You can read up on the conversations about queer visibility and carrying on tradition.

 Wayne Snow and Jaxx TMS (10 May) just recently spoke to editor Anna Grubauer about the realities of parenting in the music industry. Sanni Est (11 May) we met at last year’s edition of the festival and spoke about decolonizing sounds and celebrating the transness of the voice. Singer and free jazz songwriter douniah recently released her debut EP a lot, not too much, which she will perform as part of the XJAZZ! Line Up on 11 May. The singer Annahstasia spoke to NBHAP’s Alexandra Gulzarova about redefining folk music and breaking stereotypes. The artist will perform on Saturday 11 May. Later on the same day, the Energy Exchange Ensemble will take over the stage featuring Allysha Joy, the Melbourne-based artist rethinking neo-jazz who we met back in 2022.

We especially want to highlight the free event JAZZ KONTAKT that XJAZZ! is hosting in collaboration with Music Export Ukraine on 7 May. The initiative holds special relevance in celebrating the unique identity, tradition and resilience of Ukrainian music and art in the face of wartimes. JAZZ KONTAKT is the first event in the series and features Ukrainian artists Shchuka Ryba and Fusion Jams. Shchuka Ryba is a folk band from Kyiv that works on preserving traditions and Ukrainian music customs. Fusion emerged five years ago from the contemporary jazz community in Kyiv.

“Jazz is freedom. You think about that.”
– Thelonious Monk

Check out the full timetable below and read more about the upcoming festival and the featured artist on the website. Get your tickets here