LUMP (Laura Marling and Mike Lindsay), Charlotte Church, Gruff Rhys world premiere, Ibibio Sound Machine, talks, a street game and more contribute to the final programme for this year’s Festival of Voice taking place between 7th and 17th of June at various venues across Cardiff.
They join Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, Angélique Kidjo, a Gruff Rhys world premiere and more to complete the line-up of headline music artists performing at Wales Millennium Centre
Charlotte Church offers her curatorial voice with Utopia, an evening of innovative international artists including Le Gateau Chocolat, Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara and Sweden’s ionnalee (iamamiwhoami)
Festival-goers can explore more with new £40 Discovery Ticket Packages and get involved with talks, a street game, a mass public art project and opportunities for volunteering.
Cardiff provides the city-wide platform for powerful and diverse voices from music, arts, theatre and the community to hear and be heard.
This week Gruff Rhys announced his forthcoming 5th studio album, Babelsberg, his first record for Rough Trade since 2007’s Candylion. Documenting our troubled times with humour, grace and addictive melodies, the ten-track orchestral pop opus features the 72-piece BBC National Orchestra of Wales (BBC NOW) with arrangements by composer Stephen McNeff. Gruff’s world premiere performance of Babelsberg will be a one-off live collaboration with BBC NOW at Wales Millennium Centre as part of Festival of Voice on Sunday 10 June, coinciding with the album’s release on 8 June.
Charlotte Church returns to Festival of Voice – this time with a unique curatorial voice – presenting a joy-fuelled evening at Wales Millennium Centre entitled Utopia (16 June). Charlotte created her first theatrical work, The Last Mermaid, as a new commission for Festival of Voice in 2016. This year she’s back and inviting a selection of innovative international artists to perform in Cardiff with a contrasting line-up of voices from world music, cabaret, electronica, synth-pop and spoken word. Utopia will host ionnalee (iamamiwhoami), a new solo project from Sweden’s ethereal audio-visual electronic artist Jonna Lee, plus captivating Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara, multi-talented cabaret, drag and performance artist Le Gateau Chocolat and the distinctive spoken word, comedy and theatre artist Talia Randall.
Charlotte Church said:
“My perfect world has voices from the most diverse areas of world music, grime, cabaret, electronica, all snuggled alongside each other as comfortable bed fellows. I want to explore concepts of utopia and dystopia with the audience, whilst having unhealthy amounts of fun. But in my utopia, there’s always a rave at the end of the night. Just a very vocal rave…! It’s also great to be involved in Festival of Voice again this year – the festival offers artists and audiences new opportunities to explore, discover and find their own powerful voice – and all in Cardiff.”
Festival goers can feel the spirit of the ‘70s and ‘80s Wales with a night dedicated to the classic Welsh language rock-operas, a highlight in the cultural calendar for many people growing up in Wales. Epilog will be at the New Theatre (15 June) for a ‘best of’ night, based on a soon to be released compilation album curated by collector and radio producer Dyl Mei, featuring original and new vocalists. This event at Festival of Voice will offer new generations an introduction to this golden era in the history of Welsh language pop music, while older audiences can revel in nostalgia.
Epilog completes the theatre and performance programme at Festival of Voice which also includes productions from Welsh National Opera, National Theatre Wales, Canada’s feminism-focused Quote Unquote Collective and an audio-visual one-off performance from Gwenno. Plus four new female-led commissions premiere at this year’s festival – Lovecraft, a one-woman-science-comedy-music show from Carys Eleri; Highway One, a touching and absurdly funny tale of pilgrimage from August 012 and singer-songwriter Katell Keineg; Double Vision, a new thriller and multi-sensory inclusive experience inspired by Hitchcock and Lehman from Cardiff-based gig theatre specialists, Gagglebabble; and Cave, a theatrical exploration of the songs of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds by Camille O’Sullivan.
New additions to the live music programme are Ibibio Sound Machine (13 June), bringing a high-energy clash of African and electronic elements inspired by the golden era of West African funk, disco, modern post-punk, and electro.
Wales Millennium Centre’s long-running annual hip hop festival Breakin’ The Bay presents… Kin Folk (9 June), an 6-act bill including host and DJ AAA Badboy, rappers Ty (with live band), Chester P and NonameDisciple, First Word Records’ Children of Zeus plus Reykjavíkurdætur, a 10-woman-strong rap collective from Iceland.
And Breakin’ the Rules (15 June), a new event produced and presented entirely by young people involved in Wales Millennium Centre’s Tooling Up skills programme takes place at Clwb Ifor Bach, with Manchester’s Free Wize Men, plus Eadyth, Asha Jane, Wonky Tree and Cardiff’s hip-hop hero, DJ Jaffa.
Other festival activities include a Talks programme (9 – 10, 15 – 16 June) at Jacob’s Antique Market, in partnership with The Open University in Wales. The programme includes Women & War: An Un-Silencing with Gentle/Radical, charting a century of war and the continued unfolding of women’s struggles and resistance against the backdrop of imperial terrains. Plus Tell Your Own Story, a free two-hour talk and workshop for writers and the writer-curious, encouraging people to find their own creative voice.
The Forget-me-not-Chorus #Mysongmystory Exhibition and Concert Series (8 – 17 June) will be at Penarth Pier Pavilion. The Forget-me-not-Chorus uses the power of song to bring joy to people with dementia and their families. Working with writer, Patrick Jones, over 120 choristers have explored their special song and the story behind it. With powerful images accompanying emotive poetry, the free exhibition will also feature a series of lunch time and early evening concerts.
Festival-goers can access other free events and activities at the Festival Hub, based at Wales Millennium Centre, such as India – Wales (16 – 17 June), a collaboration between Jodhpur Riff Festival and Beyond the Border International Storytelling Festival. Celebrating the music and storytelling of Rajasthan and Wales, a 360-degree dome will host a series of free-but-ticketed events and artists including vocalist and musician Kadar Khan Langa, master kamaicha player Dara Khan Manganiyar, classical Hindustani vocalist and Sufi singer Smita Rao Bellur, plus Welsh singer-songwriter Gwilym Morus and storyteller Angharad Wynn.
There are opportunities to get involved in Festival of Voice with Processions (10 June), a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in a mass participation artwork to celebrate one hundred years of votes for women (processions.co.uk); Gig Buddies Cardiff, a befriending scheme that matches people with a learning disability with volunteers who share the same interests; or to volunteer at Festival of Voice in a variety of roles.
The full Festival of Voice 2018 timetable is now available to view online at festivalofvoice.wales