Elvis Costello and Angélique Kidjo join Festival of Voice line-up

Cardiff’s biennial Festival of Voice has revealed details of a second wave of performers from across the spectrum of the arts, music and theatre.

Joining Patti Smith, Billy Bragg and Gruff Rhys will be Grammy Award-winning artists, Elvis Costello and Angélique Kidjo:

  • Elvis Costello & The Imposters (17 June 2018) close this year’s festival with the skilled wordsmith and vocalist covering everything from politics to love songs
  • Beninese vocalist and activist, Angélique Kidjo (9 June 2018), performs her latest project, a reinterpretation of the Talking Heads’ album, Remain in Light

As well as headline music shows, audiences can look forward to displays from several international vocal groups including:

  • Reykjavíkurdætur (9 June 2018), a 10-woman-strong rap collective from Iceland
  • A Filetta (8 June 2018), a six-piece Corsican group performing three-part polyphonic songs
  • Tank and the Bangas (8 June 2018), a New Orleans-based rap, spoken word and neo-soul group
10-woman-strong rap collective, Reykjavíkurdætur
10-woman-strong rap collective, Reykjavíkurdætur

In addition, new multi-arts and theatre projects have been commissioned:

  • Experimental psych-pop purveyor, Gwenno, presents Edrica (15 June 2018), a live electronic audio/visual performance celebrating the life and work of patchwork pioneer, Edrica Huws
  • Welsh actress and singer, Carys Eleri’s Lovecraft (from 5 June 2018) looks at the scientific underpinnings of love and loneliness in modern society
  • Highway One (from 5 June 2018), directed by Mathilde López, features live performances from Katell Keineg, including songs from her forthcoming album
  • Double Vision (from 6 June 2018), a new multi-sensory inclusive experience from Cardiff-based gig theatre specialists, Gagglebabble, features an original score by Lucy Rivers performed by a live band with 9Bach’s Lisa Jên
  • Irish singer storyteller, Camille O’Sullivan, performs the songs of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds (12-13 June 2018)

Marking the centenary of women’s suffrage and incorporating many of the anthems and songs of the suffragette movement, Welsh National Opera (WNO) presents a new cabaret opera, Rhondda Rips It Up! (14 June 2018), starring Lesley Garret, with composition by Elena Langer and a libretto by Emma Jenkins. The following evening, WNO also presents a concert conducted by Music Director, Tomáš Hanus, featuring distinguished German soprano, Angela Denoke, with the WNO Orchestra (15 June 2018) in a programme that includes Berlioz’s orchestral song-cycle, Summer Nights.

The festival’s programme also features last year’s Welsh Music Prize winner, The Gentle Good (14 June 2018) and Norwegian folk songstress, Susanne Sundfør (13 June 2018). Vibes player, Orphy Robinson, presents Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks (10 June 2018), bringing together some of the UK’s top jazz players to reinterpret the 1968 masterpiece, while Atlantic Arc Orchestra (14 June 2018) sees a collaboration of respected traditional musicians and singers from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales.

Artistic Director of Wales Millennium Centre and Festival of Voice, Graeme Farrow, said:

‘Women and song are at the heart of this year’s new commissions. They will move you, make you think, laugh and even frighten you. You can’t see these shows anywhere else but in Cardiff and we are showcasing some of the extraordinary talent we have here in Wales. There is much to reflect upon in the world in 2018 so this year’s programme includes an opportunity to protest together, to listen to debate and to get involved. The human voice is democratic, rich and wonderfully varied. I hope that experiencing and discovering the voices within this festival will be a life-affirming adventure and a celebration of the most beautiful instrument we all share together.’

Sarah Dennehy, Executive Creative Producer, Festival of Voice, said:

‘The second instalment of Festival of Voice plays host to some incredible artists from Benin, Sweden, Iceland, Corsica, America, Canada and beyond as well as plenty of amazing home-grown Welsh and UK talent. Arts festivals have the capacity to deliver experiences that help us remember how amazing we can be when we really put our voice to something. Our programme aims to look beyond borders, instead, celebrating the vibrancy of art and voice.’


Festival of Voice 2018 runs from 7-17 June in Cardiff, Wales. To read Karen Stretch’s interview with Graeme Farrow in Music Education UK’s online magazine, please click here.


Header photo: Angelique Kidjo © Sonia And Mauro

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