Le Guess Who? reveals the complete 2023 line-up, including The Necks, Brìghde Chaimbeul, ESG, Bala Desejo, Lost Girls, Ndox Electrique and new programmes hosted by AMPFEMININE, re:ni and Cami Layé Okún

Less than two months to go before Le Guess Who? returns on 9-12th November, following their superb sell-out 2022 edition, the organizers announced today the full festival programme, attesting to their exceptional sonic tailoring. With boundary-pushing new additions including the likes of The Necks, Brìghde Chaimbeul, Bala Desejo, Lost Girls, as well as new programmes hosted by AMPFEMININE, re:ni and Cami Layé Okún, the one-of-a-kind festival shows it never ceases to stroll the path of boldness, diversity and adventure, and is again bound to make Utrecht burst into life for a triumphant celebration of music.

The Dutch festival had previously announced programmes curated by Stereolab, Heba Kadry, Nala Sinephro and Slauson Malone 1, as well as three special projects and the initial general line-up with Tom Skinner, Colleen, Bitchin Bajas, Holy Tongue, Baskot Lel Baltageyya, black midi and Nok Cultural Ensemble among the many acts set to play.

Newly announced today is Brazilian quartet Bala Desejo bringing their high energy performance to Le Guess Who? with their vibrant and effervescent mix of MPB, reggae, chula, salsa, rock and frevo. One of the bands at the helm of Brazil’s new musical generation, their 2022 debut album, Sim Sim Sim, was awarded the Latin Grammy. With an outstanding double LP, Travel, released earlier this year, the improvisatory excursions of Australian cult trio The Necks will also grace one of the many idyllic stages at the festival, as will South Bronx influential no wave act ESG, sure to keep the dancefloor rocking in what promises to be a special performance marking their last European show. There’s also the hypnotic Celtic melodies of Scottish smallpipes innovative player Brìghde Chaimbeul, whose music is rooted in her language and culture but expands beyond genre, and who earlier this year released a striking collaborative album with Colin Stetson. Also just announced and joining her is Alan Sparhawk (of Low), now performing solo following the passing of his musical and life partner Mimi Parker last November. New York City singer-songwriter Joanna Sternberg crafts songs that tug at the heartstrings, and she will bring her arresting and acclaimed new album, I’ve Got Me, which saw her write every song and play all instruments on it.

Also amongst the final wave of names newly added to the general line-up is the electronic and ritualistic avant rock of Ndox Electrique, the project of François R. Cambuzat and Gianna Greco, promoting their debut album, Tëd Ak Mame Coumba Lamba Ak Mame Coumba Mbang, on the heels of its release, and Lost Girls, the Norwegian duo of Jenny Hval (LGW19 curator) and Håvard Volden who also have a new album, Selvutsletter, dropping in October. Formed in Zambia in the 1970s, Zamrock pioneers W.I.T.C.H., which is an acronym for WE INTEND TO CAUSE HAVOC, are back to perform their first new album in nearly four decades, alongside Dutch musicians Jacco Gardner and Nic Mauskoviç.

Setting the stage for rare performances, Le Guess Who? will also host the premiere of a special and surprising collaboration between Berlin-based Italian composer Caterina Barbieri and Manchester-born electronic duo Space Afrika, with the visual artistry of Marcel Weber aka MFO.

Ustad Noor Bakhsh, who hails from Pakistan’s Balochistan region, will also perform at Le Guess Who? as part of Hidden Musics, the programme that celebrates musical traditions and artists from secluded regions of the world. A master of the Balochi benju, a unique stringed instrument with keys, Ustad Noor Bakhsh will bring his transcending compositions to the festival.

Another fresh addition includes a programme presented by Rotterdam-based DJ collective AMPFEMININE who aim to create opportunities for women and non-binary DJs and performers. They’ll host an evening with the likes of Argentinian DJ and producer based in Mexico City Tayhana, who’s been firing up dancefloors in South and Central-America, Rotterdam-based DJ and multidisciplinary designer Soft Break, DJ and producer Coffintexts and Amsterdam based South African multi-disciplinary artist DIORA.

In addition to performing at the festival, Birmingham-born¸ South London based artist re:ni will also host her programme including UK rising star DJ SHERELLE, British musician, composer, producer, and label-head Lee Gamble with his blend of experimental, techno, and jungle music and a new album out next month, and Berlin-based Detroit legend DJ Stingray 313, a major force in the world of electro and techno for more than two decades, who isn’t going to let anyone stand still.

An inveterate cratedigger and radio host, Cuban selector Cami Layé Okún will also host an ‘Insolar Night’ at Le Guess Who?, playing her very own vinyl collection handpicked all over the world and spanning all sort of funky, tribal and tropical rhythms. She has also invited El Volcán and Roger Damawuzan, a legend of Togolese funk music.

U? is joining forces with Le Guess Who? again with a cluster of freely accessible performances from Netherlands-based artists, like six-piece psychedelic outfit Nusantara Beat, bringing their take on traditional Indonesian music, post-punk/noise pop band Burning Neighbours, post-punk outfit Library Card, the exotic and colourful sounds of Arp Frique & Family and much more.

These and a dizzying array of unmissable wonders await in Utrecht from 9-12th November. A very limited number of extra tickets for Friday and Saturday, as well as Night Tickets for re:ni presents (Saturday 11 November at WAS.) and AMPFEMININE presents (Saturday 11 November at BASIS), will go on sale this Friday 15th September, at 11am CEST. In the meantime, for full details of the line-up and tickets, visit leguesswho.com.

Le Guess Who? unveils three new projects for 2023 edition: Hidden Musics, COSMOS and The Anonymous Project

Le Guess Who? Festival is celebrating 16 years this November with a wealth of sonic offerings that has us looking forward to autumn with bated breath. Back in May the organisers announced the initial line-up and programmes curated by Stereolab, Heba Kadry, Nala Sinephro and Slauson Malone 1 and now they’ve unleashed three special projects: Hidden Musics, COSMOS and The Anonymous Project.

With a focus on celebrating musical traditions and artists from secluded regions of the world, Hidden Musics is an inspiring and ambitious program that gives audiences a unique chance to experience rare performances. Returning to Le Guess Who? for the fourth time in 2023, the project is the fruit of 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. Hidden Musics will host Pankisi Ensemble, an all-female female traditional music group from the Pankisi Gorge in northeast Georgia, who’ve been vital in perpetuating Georgian and Chechen secular musical traditions that are unique to Pankisi. Also appearing on Hidden Musics is Sophia Nzayisenga, the first female master of the Inanga, a traditional Rwandan stringed music instrument which she learnt from her father at a very young age and Rwandan folk trio The Good Ones, a band that was formed as an act of healing following the country’s 1994 genocide, bringing together members from Rwanda’s Tutsi, Hutu, and Abatwa tribes. Known as “the man with singing fingers”, Azerbaijan’s Rəhman Məmmədli, an emblematic figure of the country’s gitara music, will also be part of Hidden Musics’s programme.

COSMOS will put the spotlight into local scenes from around the world through films, interviews, artist residencies, and for the first time it will present live performances. Performing as part of COSMOS is YL Hooi, the project of Melbourne-based producer Valya Ying-Li Hooi exploring the realms of dub, minimal synth, post-punk and dream-pop, Vietnamese experimental trio Rắn Cạp Đuôi Collective, Ruhail Qaisar, a self-taught artist from Ladakh, India, whose music incorporates and preserves memories of growing up in Ladakh, the traditional Javanese trance explorations of The Phantasmagoria of Jathilan and Bengal Chemicals, the project of Pritam Das, who’s been making waves in the experimental electronic music scene in Kolkata, India.

The third project newly announced, The Anonymous Project, is a match made in heaven for Le Guess Who?. Taking place on the opening night, various artists will perform in a white cube on stage with specially commissioned scenography to keep them anonymous throughout it. As the organizers describe, with The Anonymous Project they “want to create a space to experiment freely with new sounds and in new directions, without any judgment or expectations based on the artist’s previous work or their public profile”.

Le Guess Who? 2023 takes place from 9-12th November in several venues throughout Utrecht. With a monumental programme wholly embracing musical diversity, Le Guess Who? will be a wonderland for musical explorers of all kinds, and there is still a lot more to be unveiled for its 16th edition. Head over to leguesswho.com to see a list of currently confirmed artists and more info. Festival passes are now sold out but Thursday and Saturday tickets are still available so if you don’t have tickets yet, get these quick.

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.

Le Guess Who? 2022: a bounty of musical riches

With an unmatched selection of artists and a sense of adventure writ large, Le Guess Who? is a microcosm of musical dreams and discoveries, enriching the lives and imagination of anyone who attends it. This year, the festival celebrated its 15th edition and fully rendered its ambitious vision, reaching for the stratosphere. Here we look at some of our favourite moments from Le Guess Who? 2022 including Horse Lords, clipping., Valentin Clastrier, Thiago Nassif, Asher Gamedze, Sarathy Korwar, Nancy Mounir and many other incredible artists.

We were slightly over-excited to be in attendance at this year’s Le Guess Who? Festival, held between 10-13th November in the picturesque setting of Utrecht, where an intrepid atmosphere radiates everywhere. Like a treasure chest bursting at the seams with over 200 performances happening throughout four days in music halls, churches, theatres or clubs in the city, by as many artists and bands, some of whom had never played in Europe before, we couldn’t catch every show but we saw countless unforgettable performances and discovered new gems that we’ll treasure for years to come.

Le Guess Who? always pushes the sonic envelope, enriching it’s magnificent and bold programme with singular artists who help to curate the festival and in turn invite their own favourite and like-minded artists. This year included clipping., CURL and Animal Collective, as well as programmes curated by DJ Fitz, Coco Maria, GNOD, Ostinato Records, Hidden Musics and much more.

Tivolivredenburg, or simply Tivoli for the less linguistically apt like us, is a ginormous building with five purpose-built music halls. Aptly described by clipping. as “an insane shopping mall of musical venues”, it hosts a big chunk of the festival’s line up. It’s here that we kicked off our festival with a celestial performance from Cape Town based drummer, composer, and scholar Asher Gamedze, who set the bar incredibly high for the rest of the weekend. Performing on Thursday evening at Pandora, one of Tivoli’s venues, Asher was joined by the same quartet from his 2020 phenomenal Dialectic Soul, his spiritual and progressive jazz debut album which was one of our 15 Picks of the Year. With a band boasting talents such as bassist Thembinkosi Mavimbela, tenor saxophonist Buddy Wells and trumpeter Robin Kock, Asher’s performance truly captured a feeling we’ve had through the entire festival, of musicians who acknowledge, respect and honour the past and their ancestors while making music beamed from the future. Rooted in South African traditions, and infused with elements of resistance music against colonialism and capitalism, Gamedze’s music and performance was heavenly.

With an array of stellar shows happening in Tivoli on the opening day, once we’d set foot inside we just pinballed our way down and up escalators from show to show. One of the performances we eagerly anticipated was that of legendary Sufi trance masters The Master Musicians of Jajouka led by Bachir Attar, who welcomed the audience to their cosmos of sonic delights. Hailing from the small village of Jajouka in the foothills of the Rif Mountains in Northern Morocco, they offered to give the audience “some magic from Morocco” and drew everyone into the hypnotising magic of their sound. Dressed in matching green mantles and yellow slippers, the collective’s powerful and transcendental music, much of it passed on from generation to generation, is steeped in folklore and marked by relentless percussion and traditional instruments like the rhaita, a kind of oboe, played in unison. An ecstatic and entrancing display of rhythmic and hypnotic sounds that left no one in the packed Grote Zaal untouched. This performance was part of Hidden Musics, an ambitious program started in 2018 in collaboration with renowned producer, activist and author Ian Brennan, and musician, record producer and founder of Glitterbeat Records, Chris Eckman. In absolute harmony with Le Guess Who?, Hidden Musics aims to pay special attention to rarely heard musical traditions and artists from secluded regions of the world.

The Master Musicians of Jajouka led by Bachir Attar

Also part of Hidden Musics, and a particular highlight of Le Guess Who?’s line up was seeing Nancy Mounir perform her audio visual outstanding debut album Nozhet El Nofous, which means “Promenade of the Souls”, a record imbued with the vitality of a live performance. On Nozhet El Nofous, she brings together her incredible arrangements with archive recordings of once-famed Egyptian singers from the early 20th century, intertwined with radio and newspaper interviews. Merging the old with the new, the album’s sublime and otherworldly qualities were magnified in a live setting. On Sunday in Hertz, the hugely talented Mounir played the violin and the Theremin whilst leading a stellar ensemble featuring Youssra El Hawary (accordion), Ahmed Amin (double bass), Mounir Maher (piano), Nadia Safwat (trumpet) and the Flair Quartet (strings). Adding an extra audio and visual layer to the performance, Adham Zidan and Sarah El-Miniway took turns reading texts and arranging pictures and newspaper clippings on their desk, which once enlarged on the cinema screen gave the spectator the feeling of watching a documentary made live. A boundary-pushing exploration of timeless Egyptian music with a forward-thinking spirit.

West Coast experimental hip hop trio clipping. curated a spectacular bill featuring, amongst others, legendary guitarist Jeff Parker, London-based musician and producer Ryan Lee West aka Rival Consoles, experimental sound artist Evicshen and Jamaican-American producer and rapper Zebra Katz. Playing themselves on Friday at Ronda, one of Tivoli’s largest venue, clipping. pretty much blew the roof off. Behind the decks, producers William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes set the scene with an atmospheric and drony soundscape leading to heavier industrial and clubby beats. Rapper Daveed Diggs showed his dexterity in articulating phrases to create rhythms and bounced around the stage whilst delivering precise rhymes at blistering speed. Clipping. treated a massive and adoring crowd to a visceral set and the enthusiasm was enormous and contagious!

clipping.’s curation also included the soup of influences brought in by Dos Monos, which was delicious to say the least. Performing at EKKO, a short bike ride from Tivoli, the Japanese trio of childhood friends Zo Zhit, TAITAN MAN, and BOTSU a.k.a. NGS put on a bombastic old-school hip-hop show packed with fun and explosive energy, mixing free jazz, prog rock, latin music and everything in between to perfection whilst jumping on stage and spurring on the revelling audience. On the same bill, yet radically different, Saturday we were treated to Horse Lords’ performance, one of the most exhilarating shows all weekend. The Baltimore quartet, curated by both clipping. and Animal Collective, put out one of the most exciting and intoxicating albums of 2022, Comradely Objects. Their performance at Le Guess Who? was delirious and ferocious, with each track more daring than the last. Combining polyrhythmic grooves and a command of microtonality through prepared instruments, and blending an array of genres like experimental rock, math-jazz, krautrock, post-punk, electronic music and African musical traditions, Andrew Bernstein, Max Eilbacher, Owen Gardner and Sam Haberman proved to be a force to be reckoned with.

One of the latest additions and greatest surprises at Le Guess Who? this year was catching Sarathy Korwar’s performance presenting his new album, Kalak, on the eve of its release. With a focus on historical narratives, Korwar uses Kalak to highlight the importance and impact that marginalized voices from the past and the present can have on the future. Backed by a ridiculously tight band, his performance was ferociously energetic. His show ended with a surprise guest appearance by regular collaborator Alabaster DePlume. Only a few minutes later, DePlume returned to the same spot at Grote Zaal for his own set. Music has a transformative power and DePlume explores that path tenderly. Known for assembling a cast of different musicians wherever he plays, here DePlume had a sweet band accompanying him, including special guest Jeff Parker on guitar and Ruth Goller on bass. Having listened to GOLD countless times, it was a moment of joy to translate that experience to a live setting. DePlume and his band explored the area between spiritual jazz, folk and poetry, filling our hearts with hope and joy.

Hatis Noit in Jacobikerk

One of the many extraordinary artists that swept us away was London based Japanese vocal performer Hatis Noit who performed as part of Uncloud presents, in the gorgeous 13th century Gothic church Jacobikerk, Her mesmerizing and poignant multi-layered vocal interpretations draw from a multitude of influences and traditions including western classical music, Japanese folk, whispering, Gregorian chants and poetry reading. Dressed all in red and barefoot, Hatis used only her voice except for one track which featured a field recording she took of the ocean one kilometre away from Fukushima’s nuclear power plant. She recounted singing there in 2020 as part of a memorial and re-opening ceremony of the surrounding area. Behind the sound of the crashing waves, the noises from ongoing works could also be heard. Magnified by stunning mapped video projections, her performance was a monumental, evocative and engaging experience.

Bohren & der Club of Gore were due to perform last year and the German doom jazz band did not hide their happiness to finally play this year. In a befittingly dark and moody lighting in the large hall of Stadsschouwburg, they performed their most recent record, Patchouli Blues, in its entirety from track 1 to 11. Over at LE:EN, in the south of Utrecht, Flash Amazonas’ performance was a joyous and fun affair. The outfit of Colombian musician Julián Mayorga and Japanese producer/multi-instrumentalist Ryota Miyake were on a joy-ride blending DIY punk bolero, Latin American music, Japanese new wave and synth pop with a tongue-in-cheek approach that got everybody dancing.

In the official Le Guess Who? hangout, Kapitaal, a live listening session of Masayoshi Fujita’s Bird Ambience, his beautiful and beguiling record released last year, got us even more eager to see his show. Sadly our plan to see him perform the next day went out the window, but as always at Le Guess Who?, not getting into a show only means that you’ll embark on an unexpected musical voyage instead. That’s how we stumbled in Theater Kikker to see Dienne. The Belgian composer, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist’s performance was warm and enchanting. Playing the oboe and with a golden voice, she used her amazing looping skills to perform tracks from her debut album Addio.

LE:EN was the stage for our next highlight, the electro-acoustic duo Watkins / Peacock, who gifted us with a joyous, engrossing and mesmerizing performance. With moments of both synchronicity and dissonance, they cooked a musical broth of krautrock, dub traditions, and anything they felt like throwing in. Displaying the wit and ease with which both artists make music, their live show’s richly textured electronics are central to their playfully entrancing sound. Purveyors of the unexpected, we caught some brand new music in the making too.

Throughout these four days, one never ceased to be appreciative of being at Le Guess Who?. That’s how Welsh avant pop artist Cate Le Bon felt at the festival, telling the crowd “It’s so good to be here… the best festival in the world”. We loved her show with Drinks at the 2018 edition. This time around, playing the coolest orange guitar, Le Bon and her band brought to the festival her new album Pompeii along with some tracks from Reward. The quirky and catchy tunes went down a treat and, Le Bon floored us with her incredible stage presence. The party vibes exploded later on with Charlotte Adigery & Bolis Popul playing at Tivoli’s Ronda. The Brussels based duo, who have a debut album, Topical Dancer, under their belts, brought a lot of groovy energy, turning Ronda into an irresistible and scorching dance party. A euphoric show to a packed out Saturday night crowd.


A longtime favourite here at CTD, Keeley Forsyth’s performance at the gorgeous and grand Janskerk was one we’d long been wanting to experience and it proved to have been unmissable and unforgettable. With a career in acting before realizing her potential in music and honing the art of singing, her performance was theatrical and immersive, serpentining between the ominous and the light, the disorienting and the comforting. With her hair covering her face, her music channelled a labyrinth of unknowns. Backed by a pianist, her powerful and otherworldly baritone voice, naturally flickering between different timbres, has an otherworldly and arresting magnificence live. Profoundly immersive music. A memorable set of Colombian tropical folklore by Romperayo also took place at EKKO. Part of Coco Maria presents Club Coco, the outfit lead by drummer Pedro Ojeda and also comprising Ivan Medellín, Juan Manuel Toro, Papeto Guarnizo and Nicolás Eckardt enticed us with their blend of electronic and psychedelic music with traditional Latin rhythms like cumbia and rumba, a danceable and pleasurable time.

Much of the music and performances experiences at Le Guess Who? offer a space that one inhabits rather than just listens to. Keyboardist and composer Surya Botofasina opened that space gloriously at Tivoli’s Hertz. Accompanied by Nate Mercereau on guitar and Carlos Niño on percussion, Botofasina presented his stunning debut album Everyone’s Children. The pianist and musical director of the Sai Anantam Ashram Singers, delivered a spiritual, meditative and expansive performance, blending ambient and spiritual jazz, with nods to his learnings with Alice Coltrane.

Kokoko!, the outfit of Congolese musicians led by Makara Bianko and French electronic producer Débruit capped off Saturday night with a bang, leading us through a frenetic and rapturous set. On Sunday, Wau Wau Collective brought the heat up nice and early with their irresistible sun drenched grooves at De Helling. Hailing from Toubab Dialaw, a small fishing village in Senegal, and formed in 2018 with producer and musical archaeologist Swedish Karl Jonas Winqvist, they put on a set brimming with unbridled joy and positivity, whilst addressing social problems. Mary Ocher, who was also performing at the festival, joined in at the tail end of the show to guest in a couple of tracks.

Rio de Janeiro based singer and songwriter Thiago Nassif has been a firm favourite of ours for a while and we were hugely excited to see him perform. Hundreds of loud exotic green parakeets greeted us on our arrival at EKKO where, in front of a packed house, Thiago’s trio already had the crowd in their pocket by the time they’d finished a quick line check. The real show kicked off, and it blew our minds. Displaying incredible musicianship, Nassif on guitar, Bella on eletronics and Cláudio Brito on drums and percussion, gave us an intoxicating performance, tight and loose, with a vibrantly coloured sound palette encompassing no-wave, electronic music, Tropicalismo, samba, jazz, rock, pop and everything in between. Nassif was a force of nature onstage, even joining the crowd a couple of times.

Valentín Clastrier

We were enticed by the stunning vocal trickery Marina Herlop summoned at Tivoli’s Grote Zaal. With a full band including two other vocalists and a drummer, the Catalan composer and musician experimented and created layers with her voice and instruments. Equally odd and captivating, singing in what sounded like an invented language, we were confused at first before quickly being fully drawn in to her eccentric and inventive singing and playing.

Valentín Clastrier was one of the last concert we saw at Le Guess Who? this year, and it’s one that we won’t forget. Curated by Animal Collective, his performance at Hertz on Sunday was nothing short of profound, reflective, wild and beautiful. A pioneer of the hurdy gurdy, “vielle à roue” in French, the 75-year old Clastrier delivered one of the most outlandish shows all weekend, experimenting and expanding the possibilities of his instrument, which he played with space and freedom, as if his fingers were floating through it. The hurdy-gurdy played the role of 3 or 4 instruments/people, and the mostly improvised tunes of this one-instrument orchestra varied in tone, from gritty and ominous to more trad and joyous. Apologizing for not speaking Dutch, Clastrier had a translator stepping on stage everytime he spoke to the audience about the intricacies of his instruments, origin of track titles or reversible words. His performance earned him a well deserved standing ovation.

It would be remiss of us not to mention the visual arts exhibition on legendary cosmic afro jazz mavericks Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids, who also played a special 50th anniversary celebration show. Scattered through two foyers at Tivoli, the exhibition tracked Ackamoor’s cultural odyssey through a series of photographs, posters, and album covers. Because Le Guess Who? is about much more than just music, with cinema, talks, exhibitions, and other artistic riches on offer through the weekend. Also, and as in previous editions, Le Guess Who? had its own tasty session IPA on offer, courtesy of De Kromme Haring.

Illustrations by Kevin Pinel

This year was our fourth Le Guess Who? outing and for the duration of the festival, the world seemed utterly perfect. So with the next edition already looming on the horizon, from the 9th to the 12th November 2023, make sure to put it in your calendars already! For more info visit leguesswho.com


Le Guess Who?’s Who 2022: Watkins / Peacock

There’s just three days to go before Le Guess Who? takes over Utrecht. With over 150 artists set to perform, how do we make sense of such a monumental line-up? We made a list of the artists we’re most excited to see and asked them for their recommendations.


Watkins / Peacock


Performing Saturday 12th November at LE:EN (part of DJ Fitz presents)

Entrancing electro-acoustic duo Watkins / Peacock inhabit a sonic world at the borderlands of improvised music, krautrock and dub traditions. Visionary musicians, singular improvisers and prolific collaborators, Watkins and Peacocks’ list of projects includes Black Spirituals, Kronos Quartet, Mwahaha, tUnE-yArDs, and many others. Formed in 2017, the duo’s powerful hybrid of digital and analog conveys an ineffable sense of joy and resonance between their distinct musical approaches. We can’t wait to see them perform at Le Guess Who?. And today Peacock tells us which other artists he is looking forward to seeing. Read on to find out.


Fulu Miziki Kolektiv


Performing Thursday 10th November at TivoliVredenburg

“Ever since I heard Sun Ra, the album Lanquidity, I’ve been into Afrofuturism… Fulu has their own thing completely and I’m very drawn to them… also love the what I believe to be instruments that they have built themselves!”


Cate Le Bon


Performing Saturday 12th November at TivoliVredenburg
“Don’t know much about her but the tracks I’ve checked out are very cool… looking forward to seeing her perform”

Photo: H Hawkline


Horse Lords


Performing Sunday 13th November at TivoliVredenburg (curated by Animal Collective & clipping.)

“They make music that I like to make… ”


Photo: Margaret Rorison

Le Guess Who? will take place 10-13 November. For the full line-up, tickets and more info visit leguesswho.com. And take a look at other artists we’re excited about picking their own Le Guess Who?’s Who.

Le Guess Who?’s Who 2022: Flash Amazonas

There’s just over a week to go before Le Guess Who? takes over Utrecht. With over 150 artists set to perform, how do we make sense of such a monumental line-up? We made a list of the artists we’re most excited to see and asked them for their recommendations.


Flash Amazonas


Performing Saturday 12th November at LE:EN (part of DJ Fitz presents)

Photo: Sunao Maruyama

Colombian musician Julián Mayorga and Japanese producer/multi-instrumentalist Ryota Miyake hit it off when they met in 2015 at an artistic residency in Montreal. Quickly churning out countless musical ideas, the pair decided to start Flash Amazonas. A perfect pairing, they are not afraid to take risks and embrace daring compositional choices, taking in disparate influences including DIY punk bolero, Latin American music, Japanese new wave and synth pop, spiced up by a tongue-in-cheek approach. They have just released their second album last week, uva uva, an exuberant and exhilarating 11-track feast capturing the work of two multi-talented artists at the top of their game. We can’t wait to see them performing it live at Le Guess Who? and today they tell us which three bands they’re most excited to see at the festival. Read on to find out.




Performing Saturday 12th November at EKKO (part of Coco María presents Club Coco)

“One of the most exciting and innovative projects in new Latin American music! Pedro Ojeda’s approach to percussion is unique and so beautiful and inspiring!”


Masayoshi Fujita


Performing Saturday 12th November at Janskerk
“Ryota played at the same event with him once in Tokyo – it’s great to see him performing abroad.”


Charlotte Adigéry & Bolis Pupul


Performing Saturday 12th November at TivoliVredenburg

“Kakkoii! <3 HAHA”


Le Guess Who? will take place 10-13 November. For the full line-up, tickets and more info visit leguesswho.com. And take a look at other artists we’re excited about picking their own Le Guess Who?’s Who.