There’s nearly a whole year to go until the 14th edition of Le Guess Who? but with the extraordinary curators and initial program that has been unveiled last week, there’s already good reasons to look forward to it.
Following the postponement of Le Guess Who? to next year, the Dutch historical city of Utrecht will hold its annual four-day musical extravaganza from 11-14th November 2021. The recently announced guest curators and first names on the line-up has instilled us with a sense of heightened expectation and anticipation.
Part of what makes Le Guess Who? transcend the confines of style is the diversity brought in by its guest curators. Next year, phenomenal alto saxophonist, composer, improviser and sound experimentalist Matana Roberts, Colombian civil engineer turned into sound artist and musician Lucrecia Dalt, exquisite Japanese minimalist composer, multi percussionist and theatre artist Midori Takada, songwriter, producer, and artist behind The Microphones and Mount Eerie Phil Elverum and underground rock veteran, visual artist and record label owner John Dwyer, will all help shape and enrich the festival with hand picked selections of their own favourite and like-minded artists, in addition to also performing themselves.
The first round of names for the general line-up has also been unveiled and it’s already boasting incredible and cutting-edge artists drawn from all corners of the musical spectrum and the globe, set to perform in a multitude of idyllic venues across Utrecht, from churches and art galleries to landmark theatres, warehouses and public squares. Le Guess Who?’s initial general lineup boasts the likes of Australian revered experimental jazz trio The Necks, who kicked off 2020 with their 21st album, Three; British experimental rock 7-piece Black Country, New Road, the Saharan guitar sounds of Etran de L’Aïr, based in the Northeast of Niger; and Model Home, the electronic and vocal duo of sonic engineer Pat Cain and MC NAPPYNAPPA. Also performing will be Amsterdam-based psychedelic dance band Conjunto Papa Upa; producer Pink Siifu, who has previously been featured on tracks with Swarvy, Devonwho, and MNDSGN; rotating South African improvisational avant-jazz collective SPAZA who have just released UPRIZE!, their second album soundtracking a documentary film about the 1976 Soweto uprising; the Ghanaian spiritual roots reggae of Y-Bayani & Baby Naa And The Band of Enlightenment, Reason & Love and Chicago based sound and visual artist Damon Locks and his 15-piece Black Monument Ensemble, whose music eschews classification and taps into jazz, gospel, spoken word, hip hop, R&B, blues and folk music influences. Amidst the new thrilling additions to Le Guess Who?’s line-up is Mazaher who are inspired by the Zar music of Egypt, a healing ritual of music and dance led by women, that is on the verge of extinction, and the Brazilian sounds of São Paulo singer and guitarist Sessa, known as the founder of psych-funk duo Garotas Suecas and regular collaborator of Yonatan Gat.
We’re ecstatic to see the addition of marvellous spoken word artist, bandleader, composer, saxophonist and activist Alabaster DePlume, who released the warm and beguiling To Cy & Lee: Instrumentals Vol. 1 earlier this year. DePlume, who first performed at Le Guess Who? in 2018, returns as Artist in Residence.
With a bold program wholly embracing musical diversity, the daring and dazzling Le Guess Who? will deliver various sorts of beauty, discovery and joy. Full details of the line-up and 4-Day Passes can be found on leguesswho.com.