Le Guess Who? reveals guest curators and initial line-up with Tom Skinner, Colleen, Bitchin Bajas, Holy Tongue, Baskot Lel Baltageyya, black midi and Nok Cultural Ensemble among the acts set to play the Dutch festival this November

Utrecht’s one-of-a-kind festival Le Guess Who? returns this November 9th – 12th for its 16th edition, and today the organisers have announced the guest curators as well as the first batch of artists and bands for the general line-up.

Held around various idyllic venues across Utrecht, from churches and galleries to theatres and warehouses, Le Guess Who? brings together a consistently exciting and adventurous programme awash with boundary-pushing artists, both emerging and well-established, drawn from an immensity of musical territories.

Le Guess Who?’s guests curators are a vital part of the festival, helping to shape and enrich its monumental and diverse programme with their hand-picked selections of favourite and like-minded artists, in addition to also playing themselves. Stereolab, Heba Kadry, Nala Sinephro and Slauson Malone 1 are taking the guest curator seat this year and today we get a first glimpse at their selections.

Formed in London in 1990, revered art-pop Anglo-French outfit Stereolab were one of the most influential alternative bands to emerge in the 90s. They have invited some of our own favourite acts, including ingenious and visionary drummer-in-demand, producer and composer Tom Skinner, who had us entirely under his spell since the release of his self-titled album as Hello Skinny in 2012 and has since been flexing his creative muscles in exciting projects like Sons Of Kemet, Melt Yourself Down, Matthew Herbert, Mulatu Astatke, The Owiny Sigoma Band, The Grip, and more recently The Smile. Stereolab’s curation will also feature the sensory journey of Chicago’s experimental trio Bitchin Bajas, Bristol-based transcendent vocalist Yama Warashi, liberation-oriented free jazz collective Irreversible Entanglements, four piece experimental rock group Shake Chain, Niger-born Tuareg guitar virtuoso Bombino and celebrated American composer and multi-instrumentalist Rhys Chatham, who’s an influential figure of the 80s New York avant-garde scene. Among the names also appearing in their curation is electronic maverick James Holden, who had us dancing the show away when he performed at the festival in 2017, and is returning to Le Guess Who? with his recent album Imagine This Is A High Dimensional Space of All Possibilities. Stereolab’s curated bill will also include Afrikan Sciences, the project of New York based multi-instrumentalist and producer Eric Douglas Porter, Moin, the trio of Joe Andrews and Tom Halstead with Valentina Magaletti, and Kali Malone performing her recent immersive and epic record Does Spring Hide Its Joy with Lucy Railton on cello and Stephen O’Malley on electric guitar.

Cairo born and Brooklyn based mastering engineer Heba Kadry has lent her talents to a plethora of underground and experimental albums of the past decade, including Björk, Lingua Ignota, Marissa Nadler, Girlpool, serpentwithfeet, Slowdive and Zola Jesus, amongst many more. Appearing on her bill is Cairo-based producer El Kontessa, Palestinian interdisciplinary artist Julmud and Egyptian duo Baskot Lel Baltageyya, the project of musician Adham Zidan and poet Anwar Dabbour, who have earlier this month released their exhilarating self-titled debut album. Kadry’s curation will also host Italian musician, producer, composer and instrument builder Alessandro Cortini, best known as a member of Nine Inch Nails, the fusion of electronic beats with Cairo’s traditional sounds from electronic producer 3Phaz, Moroccan-born singer and virtuoso pianist Amina Alaoui, producer and composer Seb Gainsborough aka Vessel, Palestinian producer and rapper Al Nather, oud player, vocalist and composer Kamilya Jubran and musician, super-producer, and engineer Randall Dunn, known for his collaborations with Sunn O))), Anna von Hausswolf, Six Organs of Admittance and Tim Hecker, amongst many others. On the same bill is producer and engineer Marta Salogni and powerhouse percussionist composer and producer Valentina Magaletti, experimenting with new materials and sounds, and France based Tunisian producer Deena Abdelwahed will present her new live show Jbal Rrsas, an opera by Egyptian composer Nadah El Shazly and award winning artist.

Slauson Malone 1 is the performance art moniker of fine artist and musician Jasper Marsalis, who explores the intersections of popular music and performance art. He will be hosting dark-humoured troubadour Richard Dawson, Nigeria-born, Toronto-raised musician LA Timpa, Grammy-nominated jazz pianist Chris Pattishall, London-based interdisciplinary artist Ebun Sodipo, Turner prize-winning multidisciplinary artist Mark Leckey, Lisbon’s collective O Ghettão and the R&B, ambient, and jazz fusion of Detroit-based harpist and vocalist Ahya Simone. Malone’s curated programme will feature a special one-off performance from explosive and enigmatic London-based art-rock 4-piece black midi performing The Beatles.

There is also much to hear on the curated bill of London-based Caribbean-Belgian composer, producer and musician Nala Sinephro, who fuses ambient and spiritual jazz. Sinephro will host Nok Cultural Ensemble, the collective founded by Nigerian-British musician Edward Wakili-Hick, with stints in bands like Sons of Kemet, Steam Down and Kokoroko. A sonic exploration of Afro-diasporic rhythms, Nok Cultural Ensemble features a stellar line up including Onome Edgeworth (Kokoroko), Joseph Deenmamode (Mo Kolours), Dwayne Kilvington (Wonky Logic), Nubya Garcia, Theon Cross, Sulyiman (Afrorack), Watusi87 (RU1 Fam), Zarak (Blue Alchemy), Niyabja aka Simeline Jean-Baptiste (DJ Noss), David Wehinm (Omah Lay, Ezra Collective) and Angel Bat Dawid. Sinephro has also invited producer Aya, Kenyan composer and sound artist Nyokabi Kariūki, Slauson Malone 1, French born Ivoirian/Guadeloupean producer and multidisciplanary artist Crystallmess and Model/Actriz who are known for their live performances blending danceable noise and post-punk.

The organisers have also unveiled the initial general line-up, including the unique sound world of French multi-instrumentalist and composer Cecile Schott, known under the moniker Colleen, Holy Tongue, the trio of Valentina Magaletti, producer and musician Al Wootton and Zongamin, who have just released their striking and singular debut album Deliverance And Spiritual Warfare, Brazilian prolific multi-instrumentalist and composer Domenico Lancellotti, the hip-hop duo of billy woods and E L U C I D Armand Hammer, Pakistani, qawwali singer Faiz Ali Faiz, experimental duo Wolf Eyes who are marking their 25th anniversary with the new album Dreams In Splattered Lines releasing later this month, and African Head Charge, the long-running collaborative project of master percussionist Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah and maverick dub producer Adrian Sherwood. Amongst those confirmed to play this year is also Berlin-based Peruvian musicians Alejandra Cárdenas, AKA Ale Hop, and Laura Robles presenting their debut album Agua Dulce, Zambian-Canadian rapper & producer Backxwash, London-based multi-instrumentalist and composer Damsel Elysium, Taiwanese psychedelic duo Mong Tong 夢東, Brazilian groove maestro and master composer João Donato and Dawuna, the project of New York based singer-songwriter, producer and composer Ian Mugerwa Byenkya. Other special additions to the line-up include the collaborative project of celebrated Israeli singer, musician and producer Dudu Tassa and award-winning composer and guitarist Jonny Greenwood performing their upcoming album Jarak Qaribak. Other new musical treats include Decisive Pink, the duo of Kate NV and Angel Deradoorian who are also releasing their debut album Ticket To Fame next month, the playful and intimate storytelling of Colorado based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Josephine Foster, Japanese ragtag collective Maya Ongaku, experimental flamenco artist Niño de Elche, country psychedelic rock outfit Rose City Band, Copenhagen-based sound artist Sofie Birch and Polish vocalist Antonina Nowacka presenting their album Languoria and the unrelenting and intoxicating blend of traditional Bugandan drumming and electronics of Nihiloxica.

Many more artists will be added to this tremendous line-up over the next few months. As it stands, and as always, the daring and dazzling Le Guess Who? has an abundance of beautiful and unmissable sonic offerings in store for us. So if you don’t have tickets yet, be sure to secure your spot at Le Guess Who? 2023 when the very limited 4-Day Festival Passes go on sale on Friday May 26th. Head over to Le Guess Who? website for the complete list of performers announced so far and more information.

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No HTML but links are fine.