Le Guess Who? reveals 70 new acts for 2021 edition

Le Guess Who? is celebrating its 14th edition this year with a bold and monumental program. With just under two months to go until the musical extravaganza kicks off throughout Utrecht, the organisers have now revealed the full line-up. The last cluster of acts features 70 new exciting performers including Suuns, Jessica Moss, Aksak Maboul, tenniscoats, Chúpame El Dedo, claire rousay, and many more.

After enticing us with a plethora of magnificent curators and artists announcements over the last few months, including many of our favourite artists and bands, Le Guess Who? has now unveiled the full line-up for its 14th edition running from November 11th-14th in a multitude of idyllic venues scattered throughout the quaint city of Utrecht.

Newly added to the general line-up is legendary experimental pop group Aksak Maboul who returned last year with Figures, their first album in 40 years, Indian American composer Arushi Jain, popular singer of Frafra gospel from Ghana Alogte Oho & His Sounds of Joy and Suuns, the Canadian band who boasts excellent musicianship, reflected and augmented on live shows and who have just release their new album, The Witness, earlier this month. Also enriching the general line-up will be the soulful and energetic sounds of Lyra Pramuk, the library music and kosmiche compositions of Samuele Gottardello aka Blak Saagan, French psych duo The Limiñanas and the mesmeric folk-pop of singer/songwriter Shannon Lay whose new album, Geist, arrives next month. Berlin / Manchester duo Space Afrika will bring their evocative and experimental soundscapes to  Le Guess Who? as will University Challenged, the trio of Ajay Saggar (“Bhajan Bhoy”), Oli Heffernan (“Ivan The Tolerable”) and Kohhei Matsuda (“Bo Ningen”).

Elsewhere on the curated programs, there are also plenty of thrilling additions. Don The Tiger, the project of Galician musician Adrián de Alfonso, who has played with the likes of Lydia Lunch, Mark Cunningham, Robert Forster and Carla Bozulich, the tropical and intense rhythms of Colombian duo Chúpame El Dedo, featuring members of The Meridian Brothers and Romperayo and Typhonian Highlife, the project of mysterious experimental musician Spencer Clark will all join the bill curated by Lucrecia Dalt.

The mesmeric and compelling compositions of brilliant and ingenious violinist, vocalist and composer Jessica Moss, the gospel and R&B sounds of South London based singer and producer Klein, and Ice Balloons, the Brooklyn noise supergroup of Kyp Malone (TV on the Radio), Sean Powell (The FuckEmos), Giselle Reiber (Midnight Masses), and Rob Bryn (Wild Yaks) join Matana Roberts’ curated bill.

Curator John Dwyer has also invited Meril Wubslin, the Swiss trio who describe themselves as ‘two guitars, two voices, rhythms and trance’, Japanese heavy psych rock band DMBQ and the cosmic fusion of electronic music with folk and jazz of London-based Caribbean-Belgian composer, producer and musician Nala Sinephro.

Phil Elverum’s curated program will host the gorgeous melodies of American folk singer-songwriter Mariee Sioux and the beautiful and unique sounds of Tokyo’s pop duo tenniscoats.

There’s more special projects newly lined up for this year’s edition including Portuguese Tia Maria Produções, a sublabel of contemporary dance music label Príncipe Discos, presenting Bboy, Dj Danifox, Puto Márcio and Lycox, Dutch label Knekelhuis presenting De Ambassade, Jean-Luc, Patricia Kokett, Reymour and Spill Gold, and British underground punk label La Vida Es Un Mus showcasing Kohti Tuhoa and Taqbir. Uncloud presents will host shows from Near Stoic, Mark IJzerman & Sébastien Robert present As Above, So Below and experimental musician claire rousay, who in addition to an album released this year, kept herself busy last year releasing 9 full length albums and 10 additional singles, 12″s and Eps.

Head over to leguesswho.com to take a look at the complete list of phenomenal performers added. 4-Day Festival Passes for Le Guess Who? 2021 have now sold out but limited day tickets are still available so if you want to embrace the diverse, daring and dazzling musical experiences Le Guess Who? will offer, hurry up!

Le Guess Who? festival unveils details of second edition of Hidden Musics

This November, Le Guess Who? festival will enrich further still the diversity already brought in from stellar guest curators and a line-up boasting an abundance of incredible artists with the return of Hidden Musics. First unveiled in 2019, Hidden Musics is an ambitious program that pays special attention to musical traditions and artists from secluded regions of the world, giving audiences a unique chance to experience rare performances. Perfectly tailored for the festival, the program sprouted from a collaboration between Le Guess Who?, Grammy-award winning music producer, activist and author Ian Brennan, and Ljubljana based American musician, record producer and Glitterbeat Records founder Chris Eckman.

Tuareg guitar band Etran de L’Aïr, an Agadez based family collective who represent the multi-ethnicities of Niger, is one of the bands performing as part of Hidden Musics. Tunisian-Belgian singer, dancer, poet and actress Ghalia Benali will also bring her golden voice and charismatic stage presence to a Le Guess Who? stage in Utrecht, presenting Hadret Ishq, an anthology of the repertoire of Sufi poets, both ancient and contemporary.
Also appearing on Hidden Musics is celebrated Hungarian singer Monika Lakatos of Olah Romani descent and Egyptian ensemble 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.
Russian label Ored Recordings, an ethnographic record label that has been documenting and recording artists native to the North Caucasus, will partake in this year’s Hidden Musics edition, presenting performances from Jrpjej and Zaur Nagoy.

For a taster of what to expect, take a look at the trailer below.

Le Guess Who? will take place 11-14 November in idyllic venues scattered around Utrecht. Tickets and other info can be found on leguesswho.com.

Watch the live performance of Anoushka Shankar & Manu Delago with Metropole Orkest Strings at Le Guess Who?’s 2018 edition

The 12th edition of Le Guess Who? festival in 2018 was an absolute musical paradise filled with wondrous and unforgettable performances. One that stood out for us was that of Anoushka Shankar & Manu Delago with Metropole Orkest Strings, playing on the third day of the festival. True masters of their instruments, Shankar following in the footsteps of her father on the sitar, and Delago a pioneer of the hang, the pair enthralled the audiences at TivoliVredenburg’s Grotezaal, performing with the 27-member string section of the Metropole Orkest, under the direction of conductor Jules Buckley.
Le Guess Who? has today shared the full video recording so if you’ve missed it, fear not, we can now relive this beguiling performance as it happened. Nick Helderman directs.

The 14th edition of Le Guess Who? takes place 11-14 November throughout Utrecht and festival passes are now available on leguesswho.com, where you can also find more info.

Le Guess Who? festival reveals 46 names for this year’s event including Vanishing Twin, Oren Ambarchi, Spirit Fest, Old Time Relijun, Faust, Ensemble Klang and much more

Had it not been for a pandemic, the musical paradise that is Le Guess Who? festival was to have taken place last year but it’s time to get excited again. This November will finally welcome its 14th edition from 11-14th and the organizers have unveiled another 46 names that will grace one of the many idyllic stages across Utrecht.

Le Guess Who? had already enticed us with a few names on the general line up and the list of its curators: Matana Roberts, Lucrecia Dalt, Midori Takada, Phil Elverum and John Dwyer. As usual, Le Guess Who?’s curators will help shape and enrich the festival with their own favourite and like-minded artists, in addition to also playing themselves. Today we get a first glimpse at some of their selections.

Phenomenal alto saxophonist, composer, improviser and sound experimentalist Matana Roberts returns to the festival, this time as a curator. Her program will include liberation-oriented free jazz collective Irreversible Entanglements, Jesu, the moniker of British guitarist and composer Justin Broadrick who is best known as a founding member of Godflesh; French double bass player, improviser and composer Joëlle Léandre; and Australian composer, multi-instrumentalist and musical polymath Oren Ambarchi.

There is also much to hear on the curated bill of Colombia-born/Berlin-based producer and sound artist Lucrecia Dalt, including her collaboration with noise artist Aaron Dilloway (Wolf Eyes), the electronic music experiments of acousmatic composer Beatriz Ferreyra; Spanish a capella duo Tarta Relena; German electronic musician, composer, radio-playwright, and curator Felix Kubin; and the Latin American folklore and cumbia merged with electronic and surreal elements of Colombian singer-songwriter Julián Mayorga.

Added to Japanese percussionist and minimalist/ambient composer Midori Takada’s program is Dutch contemporary ensemble Ensemble Klang, who are set to present the live premiere of their audiovisual project, Thrift Hybrids. Takada will also perform as part of Ton-Klami, her improvisational trio with pianist Masahiko Satoh and saxophonist Kang Tae Hwan.

Singer-songwriter Phil Elverum has invited veterans of Nairobi’s metal scene Duma, Estonian acclaimed folk singer-songwriter Mari Kalkun and Seattle experimental cello player and composer Lori Goldston, who has played with Nirvana. Elverum has also invited guitarist Jay Blackinton to perform the Microphones in 2020 album in its entirety.

Appearing on the curated bill of multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter, visual artist and record label owner John Dwyer is German krautrock group Faust, performing their 1973 masterpiece album Faust IV, Arrington De Dionyso’s experimental dance-punk band Old Time Relijun, Brigid Dawson & Sunwatchers, Earth Girl Helen Brown whose recent EP, Earth, features John Dwyer, and Brooklyn’s art punk 5-piece Gustaf. Dwyer is also set to perform as part of OSEES presenting the live premiere of last year’s album Bent Arcana.

There’s a lot more on offer for the 14th edition of Le Guess Who?, and the general line-up has also been expanded with the second batch of performing artists now announced. Newly added is Spirit Fest, the project featuring Tenniscoats singer Saya and The Notwist’s Markus & Cico, neo-sufi and minimalist composer and singer Arooj Aftab, London super group Vanishing Twin, acclaimed ambient composer and multi-instrumentalist William Basinski, Gambian-British rapper and grime artist Pa Salieu, London-based artist and FKA twigs collaborator Lucinda Chua with a new EP, Antidotes 2, released last month, and Tunisian-Belgian singer, dancer, poet and actress Ghalia Benali, amongst many more artists.

Amidst the new exhilarating additions to Le Guess Who?’s 2021 edition is Kampala-based label Nyege Nyege Tapes presenting their Hakuna Kulala club night with the likes of Authentically Plastic, Diaki, Marcelle/Another Nice Mess, Menzi and Turkana.

As always the line-up boasts an abundance of incredible artists from a giant landscape of music, making it an unmissable destination for musical explorers of all kinds so act fast to secure your spot at Le Guess Who? 2021. Tickets and full details of the festival can be found on its website.

Guest curators and first names revealed for Le Guess Who? 2021

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.

Le Guess Who? unveils new hybrid event ON/OFF

Following the postponement of Le Guess Who?’s 14th edition to 2021, the festival has reshaped itself within the current pandemic boundaries. The organizers unveiled last week a new hybrid event called ON/OFF, taking place from 13-15 November.

Next month, Le Guess Who?’s 14th edition would have taken place, and as we’ve personally experienced in the last 3 years, Utrecht would undoubtedly become the most wondrous place on earth. Every year, around 200 diverse and cutting-edge artists from across the globe, spanning genres and generations, grace one of the many stages in venues scattered throughout Utrecht, gifting audiences with mesmerizing experiences and unforgettable memories. The global pandemic has prevented the festival from happening in its regular format this year, but the organizers channelled their adventurous and bold musical and artistic vision into a new event called ON/OFF. A 2-part program, ON/OFF has a plethora of treats in store to be enjoyed both online and offline.

LGW ON will offer a rich variety of programming initiatives through a freely accessible online TV channel, broadcasting 13-15 November via leguesswho.com. Matana Roberts, John Dwyer (Thee Oh Sees), Phil Elverum (Mount Eerie), Lucrecia Dalt and The Bug, who have all performed in past editions, will co-curate LGW ON, hand-picking their favourite videos, films and documentaries for the channel. LGW ON will also be streaming for the first time live recordings of unique performances by Mary Margaret O’Hara, Sons of Kemet XL and Circuit des Yeux Ensemble, as well as live sessions with Dutch artists, Zoom interviews, a documentary about Le Guess Who? and highlights from last year’s edition. An alternative way to continue being a vital avenue of cultural discovery, LGW ON will present ‘Reports from Other Continents’, a specially commissioned program where people from all over the world will share video reports introducing audiences to the art, culture and music of their homelands. ‘Reports from Other Continents’ will feature video reports from countries like Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, India, Iraq, Mexico, Nepal, South Africa, Tanzania, Turkey, and Venezuela.

LGW OFF will take place on 14 and 15 November in both new and familiar venues throughout Utrecht, presenting a 100% Dutch program, featuring over 50 artists “with a strong urge to innovate”. The full program is yet to be announced and tickets for each show will be available then.

Whilst we’re obviously extremely sad not to be heading to Utrecht next month for a weekend of discoveries and delights, we are also very excited with the online extravanga Le Guess Who? has cooked up for us. We’re sure we won’t be alone devouring it from the comfort of our homes.

To get you in the mood, here’s the trailer for Le Guess Who? presents ON/OFF.