Le Guess Who? reveals guest curators and initial line-up for 2024 edition

Le Guess Who? returns to Utrecht from November 7th – 10th for its 17th edition and the first big announcement of 2024 is here. Today’s announcement attests to the organisers’ unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of musical conventions. A sonic odyssey that transcends genres and geography, the festival continues to champion artists and sounds that are often overlooked and provides a platform for fresh perspectives in music. There’s very good reasons to be excited for this year’s edition with the guest curators and first names on the general line up announced today, including a lot of bands that we absolutely love like FYEAR, Patrick Shiroishi, Fuensanta, Nancy Mounir, Kahil El’Zabar’s Ethnic Heritage Ensemble and Asher Gamedze.

Le Guess Who? has been a beacon of artistic exploration, transforming the city of Utrecht into a privileged global stage for unparalleled musical discoveries and experiences. Part of what makes Le Guess Who? so unique is the diversity brought in by its guest curators, and this year Mabe Fratti, Bo Ningen, Arooj Aftab, Crystallmess, DARKSIDE, and Touching Bass will help shape and enrich the festival with hand picked selections of their favourite and like-minded artists, in addition to also performing themselves.

Guatemala-born, Mexico City-based cellist and composer Mabe Fratti curates a stunning programme highlighting the rich cultural diversity and spirit of Latin American music. She invited South American artists who have inspired her like Mexican saxophonist and composer Germán Bringas; Amsterdam based Mexican singer, double bassist, composer, improviser and multidisciplinary artist Fuensanta; Colombian traditional folkloric cumbia group Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto, who have been active since 1940, London-based experimental vocal ensemble Shards; Luz luz luz!; and, amongst others, Argentine experimental band Blanco Teta, known for their infectious and energetic performances.

Following a blistering show at Le Guess Who? in 2018, London-based Japanese post-punk quartet Bo Ningen are returning as curators, focusing on audiovisual performances. They will present their alternate live score to Alejandro Jodorowsky’s cult classic The Holy Mountain. Their curated programme will also include the likes of experimental saxophonist and electronic musician Helen Papaioannou and visual artist Noriko Okaku, who mix live collaged visuals with accompanying music; experimental soprano Olivia Salvadori, drummer Akihide Monna, and multi-instrumentalist Coby Sey in their new collaborative project GAISTER; the audiovisual collaboration by musicians Klara Lewis and Nik Colk Void with visual artist Pedro Maia; Lunch Money Life, and a performance by London post-rock trio Still House Plants, with a brand new album, If I don’t make it, I love u, released last month.

Arooj Aftab returns to Le Guess Who? after her memorable performance in 2021. As the first Pakistani woman to win a Grammy Award, Aftab has captured global attention with her unique musical vision. Her upcoming album, Night Reign, is highly anticipated, and her curated programme reflects her diverse influences. Her bill will included a special filmed performance by her father, Aftab Sr., delivering meaningful love poetry from Lahore, Pakistan. Aftab’s bill will also host the powerful and hypnotic chanting and danceable rhythms of Mauritania’s Noura Mint Seymali; Los Angeles based contemporary poet, writer, lyricist, and activist aja monet, known for her work on Black resistance, love and joy; the sould-stirring compositions of singer, composer and music producer Dina El Wedidi, who’s a star in her native Egypt, and multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and producer Meshell Ndegeocello, whose latest Grammy-awarded album, The Omnichord Real Book, is a testament to her deep musical roots.

French multidisciplinary artist and producer Crystallmess will bring her interdisciplinary approach to the festival, combining elements of film, music, performance, and visual art. Her curated programme features pop polymath Lafawndah; footwork originator RP Boo; Detroit ghetto-tech group HiTech; experimental musician and choreographer Blackhaine, whose cathartic performances evoke intense physical and sonic energy, LustSickPuppy; Nazar and American singer and Sonic Youth co-founder Kim Gordon, also with a recent second solo album, The Collective, under her belt.

DARKSIDE, the electronic duo of Dave Harrington and Nicolás Jaar, who now count drummer Tlacael Esparza as a new member, present a programme boasting everything from electronic music and disco to prog rock and funk. Their curated lineup includes Japanese American saxophonist and composer Patrick Shiroishi; innovative trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith; Phantom Orchard, the project of two visionaries, harpist and composer Zeena Parkins and electronic music composer and visual artist Ikue Mori; Iranian artist Cinna Peyghamy; percussionist and composer Eli Keszler and transdisciplinary scholar and vocalist and double-bassist ganavya presenting her brand new album, like the sky I’ve been too quiet.

Touching Bass, a South London community-come-club night, record label and NTS Radio show, founded and run by Errol and Alex Rita, have two distinct evenings in store for the festival. Calm Roots, taking place in a church, will focus on meditative performances and the second night, INNA, will celebrate Jamaican soundsystem culture with performances intended for the dancefloor.

There’s a lot more on offer for the 17th edition of Utrecht’s Le Guess Who?, with the first performing artists within the general line-up now also unveiled. Appearing on the bill is prodigious and adventurous musician, composer and producer-in-demand Radwan Ghazi Moumneh; Palestinian producer and rapper duo Al Nather & Shabjdeed; Portuguese musician and sound engineer Rafael Toral and YEAR, the Montréal-based supergroup led by electroacoustic composer Jason Sharp and poet/writer Kaie Kellough, hot on the heels of a mesmerizing eponymous debut album fusing spoken word, out-jazz, post-classical, drone, ambient metal, avant-rock and modular synthesis. Freshly added to the line-up today is talented and versatile multi-instrumentalist, arranger, and composer Nancy Mounir, whose performance at the festival in 2022 was one of our highlights. Melbourne band Tropical Fuck Storm, who put on a mighty and blistering show in 2019, are also returning to the festival as is visionary and virtuosic South African drummer, composer, writer and activist Asher Gamedze performing with his Another Time Ensemble, the quintet he assembled in Cairo with some of the city’s finest improvisers. Also added is Bolivian singer, songwriter, composer and actress of Quechuan origin Luzmila Carpio, who’s been spreading ancestral Andean knowledge and music since the late 1960s. Other incredible additions include Montréal based Swedish singer/composer Erika Angell presenting the first album under her own name, and Kahil El’Zabar’s Ethnic Heritage Ensemble on the same year they celebrate their milestone 50th anniversary.

With each passing year, Le Guess Who? cements its reputation as a festival that embraces the full spectrum of musical diversity. This year’s edition promises to be no exception, with an extraordinary lineup that will dazzle and inspire. A myriad of unmissable performances will take place at festival’s idyllic venues across Utrecht, from churches and art galleries to landmark theatres and warehouses.

Head over to leguesswho.com to gaze at the full list of stellar names announced today. For those who have yet to secure their tickets, a very limited number of 4-Day Festival Passes and individual Day Tickets will go on sale on Tuesday, May 28th.


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