Le Guess Who? is a festival that is dedicated to forward-thinking and boundary-crossing music and culture from all over the world. Earlier this year, Le Guess Who? had to postpone its 2020 festival to 2021. Now, the organization reveals the curators and initial program for its 14th festival edition, scheduled to take place from 11-14 November 2021.
Inviting guest curators to build their own programs has become a hallmark of Le Guess Who? over the years. Featuring both their inspirations and fellow like-minded artists, this allows upcoming acts to perform alongside established artists.
In 2021, Le Guess Who? will see curated programs from multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter, visual artist and record label owner John Dwyer, also known as the frontman of Oh Sees; Colombia-born, Berlin-based experimental producer and sound artist Lucrecia Dalt; Japanese composer and percussionist Midori Takada; Clarinetist and saxophonist Matana Roberts, who describes her work as “panoramic sound quilting”; and lauded singer-songwriter Phil Elverum, known for his work as Mount Eerie and The Microphones.
All curators will perform live at Le Guess Who? 2021; their curated programs will be announced at a later date.
The first confirmed artists scheduled to perform as part of the general program of the festival have also been announced, including Duluth trio Low, known for exploring the musical edges of dark and light, and Alabaster dePlume, who combines richly evocative jazz, spoken word, and folk, and will be artist-in-residence during Le Guess Who?.
Also performing are the guitar-led composition from São Paulo’s Kiko Dinucci; German ambient/jazz quartet Bohren & Der Club of Gore; Mazaher, an Egyptian ensemble who are inspired by different musical styles of the Zar, a healing ritual of singing, polyrhythmic drumming and dancing whose tradition is carried mainly by women; Dutch legend Ronald Langestraat, who – according to Bandcamp – “took Jazz to Outer Space” in collaboration with oddball-pop wonder Tim Koh; uplifting activist jazz from Chicago-based improvisational artist Damon Locks’ Black Monument Ensemble.
The program also includes the post-rock soundscapes and jazz-inflected post-punk of Black Country, New Road; Ghanaian Roots Reggae from Y-Bayani and Baby Naa and the Band of Enlightenment, Reason and Love, on their first-ever European tour; and finally, SPAZA, a band with no permanent members, whose performing line-ups are curated by the South African label Mushroom Hour Half Hour for the express purpose of recording improvised or workshopped material. The rotating South African ensemble will perform live for the first time at Le Guess Who?, presenting music from their previous releases, and will also set up a new recording project in Utrecht together with other festival artists.
This weekend: Le Guess Who? launches online TV channel LGW ON
As a result of the worldwide pandemic, Le Guess Who? Festival has reinvented its 2020 festival formula to launch LGW ON: a worldwide, freely accessible, online TV channel streaming from Friday 13 November (6PM CET) to Monday 16 November (10AM CET).
LGW ON will feature films and documentaries selected by 2021 festival curators Phil Elverum, Matana Roberts, John Dwyer, and Lucrecia Dalt, as well as former LGW curators The Bug, Moon Duo, and SUUNS.
During LGW ON, Le Guess Who? will also present its new media production ‘Reports from Other Continents’, in which people from all over the world share video reports on topics such as art, culture and music from within their local communities. Also airing on the TV channel: previously unseen live recordings of festival performances by AEAEA (Nicolas Jaar x Patrick Higgins), Mary Margaret O’Hara, Sun Ra Arkestra, Sons of Kemet XL, and Circuit des Yeux Ensemble; Zoom interviews with artists and writers; a documentary about Le Guess Who?; and highlights from the festival’s thirteen-year archive.
Le Guess Who? 2021 takes place from 11-14 November throughout the entire city of Utrecht. The festival presents music, film, visual arts and more, in pop venues, theaters, churches, museums, warehouses and public squares.
4-Day Festival Passes are available for €133,00 (incl. service costs) via leguesswho.com/tickets. Day tickets will become available at a later date.
Initial line-up for Le Guess Who? 2021
Alabaster dePlume – Artist in Residence
Black Country, New Road
Bohren & Der Club of Gore
Conjunto Papa Upa
Damon Locks Black Monument Ensemble
Etran de L’Aïr
Ronald Langestraat & Tim Koh
Y-Bayani & Baby Naa And The Band of Enlightenment, Reason & Love
More artists to be announced