We’ve spent the last couple of years raving about how great Le Guess Who? is and with good reason. For four days and nights every November, the festival takes over the quaint and historic city of Utrecht with a kaleidoscopic range of delightful and diverse performances. With today’s announcement, Le Guess Who?, celebrating its 13th edition from November 7-10, shows that it continues to be guided by an adventurous, independent and uncompromising spirit.
Le Guess Who?‘s organisers had already fired us with enthusiasm with the first announcement of performing artists within the general line-up, as well as guest curators and initial curated bills from Jenny Hval, Patrick Higgins, The Bug and Moon Duo. Today the festival unveils the final additions to these bills, as well as the picks of Fatoumata Diawara and Iris van Herpen & Salvador Breed, and other special performances and unique collaborations.
Afrocubism and Afrofuturism-related artists will be the core of Fatoumata Diawara’s curatorial selections. The inventive Malian artist had previously collaborated with multi-talented Cuban jazz musician, composer and bandleader Roberto Fonseca, and she invites him for a solo performance at the festival. Diawara’s curated bill will also host performances from activist rapper Master Soumy, who’s at the forefront of Mali’s hip hop movement, and the soul-stirring Tuareg folk of guitarist and singer/songwriter Ahmed Ag Kaedy, fresh off the back of his new solo acoustic album, Akaline Kidal. Living in exile, Kaedy named the album after Kidal, his northern Mali hometown where he is banished from. Two films will also feature on Diawara’s program, Mali Blues and Yao.
Dutch designer and couturier Iris van Herpen and her partner, sound artist Salvador Breed, have invited Efterklang, the Danish trio of childhood friends Mads Brauer, Casper Clausen and Rasmus Stolberg, who constantly venture in new and exciting directions and are back with new album Altid Sammen. They have also invited Egyptian-Iranian experimental pop/R&B artist Lafawndah, Mexican artist Murcof, Hip-Hop and Soul duo Oshun, J-E-T-S, the collaborative project of producers Machinedrum and Jimmy Edgar, and Klavikon, the project of virtuoso pianist Leon Michener mastering the cross-pollination between techno and classical music with merely a prepared piano, “no loops, no laptops, no sequencers”. Van Herpen and Breed’s program will also feature an exhibition by British hand embroidery artist James Merry, best known for his otherworldly creations for Björk.
Amongst the new additions to curated programs is the avant-pop of electronic musician Holly Herndon presenting her multi-sensory experience ‘PROTO’, which is also her bold and challenging third album inspired and created with artificial intelligence. Herndon’s performance comes courtesy of three curators, Patrick Higgins, Iris van Herpen & Salvador Breed and Moon Duo.
Patrick Higgins will host Dossier X, his own immersive audio-visual collaboration with installation artist Matthew Schreiber and choreographer Monica Mirabile and Rhode Island noise rock duo Lightning Bolt with new record Sonic Citadel under their belt. Moon Duo add to their curation Berlin-based Argentinian duo Mueran Humanos, and self-taught violinist and vocalist Sudan Archives who popped up on our radar a couple of years ago through the spectacular line-up of Le Guess Who 2017 edition. There are new additions to The Bug’s program, with organist and composer Kali Malone set for a special organ performance and The Bug’s performance with grime MC Flowdan.
Other exciting and fresh additions to Le Guess Who?’s 2018 line-up include two label nights from Portugal’s powerhouse dance label Príncipe Discos and Rome-based techno label Spazio Disponibile, both bringing over to Utrecht a chunk of artists from their roster.
Another special performance now announced is that of Belgrade based DJ/producer Vladimir Ivkovic. Twenty years on from the death of Serbian producer Mitar Suboti, also known as Suba and Rex Ilusivii, his shelved iconic album Wayang, got widely released for the first time and Ivkovic will perform it in its entirety.
This year’s Le Guess Who? Festival will undoubtedly be a musical treasure rammed with surprises and delights and there is yet a lot more to be unveiled for the 13th edition. Daily tickets and 4-Day Festival Passes are now available on leguesswho.com, where you can also find newly confirmed artists and more info.