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.