Brighton Festival 2013, with Guest Director Michael Rosen at the helm, has launched three weeks of unrivalled arts celebration which includes music performances from Lucinda Williams, The Flaming Lips, Sinead O'Connor and more.
Michael Rosen – celebrated poet, writer, broadcaster, and former Children's Laureate – is the Guest Director of the 47th Brighton Festival which takes place from 4th to 26th May.
Over the three-week festival many of his interests and passions will be explored in a wide-ranging programme which spans music, theatre, dance, film, literature and debate.
Brighton Festival is an innovative commissioning and producing mixed arts festival offering an ambitious programme which has won critical acclaim for presenting exciting site-specific work and encouraging artistic debate. In 2011 Brighton Festival took the art world by surprise, appointing Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi as Guest Director and other previous Guest Directors have included Vanessa Redgrave; actress and human rights campaigner, renowned visual artist Anish Kapoor and the celebrated musician Brian Eno.
This year's Brighton Festival holds in store over 370 performances and 154 events in 30 venues across the city. There will also be 27 unique Brighton Festival commissions, premieres and exclusives.
Headline Contemporary Music events for 2013 include:
EXCLUSIVE BRIGHTON FESTIVAL DATE
Wednesday 15 May
An Intimate Evening with Lucinda Williams
Brighton Dome Concert Hall, 9pm
Currently touring her Blessed album, the award-winning singer-songwriter takes time out from her Scandinavian tour to play a one-off show as part of Brighton Festival 2013. Weaving blues, folk and country music alongside literary details and socially aware lyrics, Williams has been described as the ‘female Bob Dylan'and has won three Grammy Awards since her debut album Ramblin'in 1979.
Wednesday 22 May
The Flaming Lips
Brighton Dome Concert Hall, 8.30pm
Q magazine named them as one of the ‘50 Bands To See Before You Die'. Their elaborate shows have included puppets, balloons, costumes, giant hands, confetti, and a man-sized plastic bubble in which frontman Wayne Coyne rolls across the audience. Who knows what's next…? The songs, acclaimed for their signature lush, multi-layered, psychedelic rock arrangements, have titles such as Yeah, I Know It's a Drag… Wastin'Pigs is Still Radical. No wonder The Flaming Lips are so irresistible. The triple Grammy Award-winning band released its latest album, The Terror, earlier this year; they're flaming hot and ready to rock Brighton…
BRIGHTON FESTIVAL EXCLUSIVE
Saturday 25 May
Musik Kabarett featuring Nina Hagen, David McAlmont and The Irrepressibles
Think of cabaret and you think of Berlin in the 1920s and '30s, where ‘Kabarett'became a hotbed of counter-culture creativity and genre-defining performance styles. In this tribute to Kabarett's lasting influence on the music of today, three critically-admired artists reinterpret some of the most influential theatrical songs of the 20th century, each infused with their very own individual flavour. Hagen's utterly idiosyncratic style, veering from full-throated operatic to heavy-duty rock and eccentric cabaret chic, plugs into the subversive tradition of 1920s Kabarett. She was born in Berlin; this legacy is in her blood, and it is her highly original development of the Berlin tradition that has made her a cult figure on the club and cabaret scene. David McAlmont's vocal versatility and power has long been admired throughout the music industry. His staggering voice finds yet a new platform here to add to his huge repertoire of styles. Jamie McDermott and his band The Irrepressibles have a sophisticated brand of spectacle which is firmly rooted in the Kabarett convention. Their rich instrumentations and haunting vocals come together on stage with dazzling panache.
EXCLUSIVE BRIGHTON FESTIVAL DATE
Wednesday 8 May
Brighton Dome Concert Hall, 8pm
The high priestess of independent-minded pop is back. Sinéad O'Connor's new album How About I Be Me (And You Be You)? plays like an encyclopedic definition of her distinctive style: songs about love and loss, hope and regret, pain and redemption, anger and justice. And it forms the basis for an evening of consistently moving, exciting and beautiful songs, drawn not only from this latest acclaimed collection but also from the back-catalogue of her 25-year career. Backed by her new 6-piece band, Sinéad O'Connor reaffirms her position as the one of the most eloquent – and outspoken – voices in contemporary music. Support from Lau.
Monday 13 May
Apparat – Krieg & Frieden
All Saints Church, Hove, 9pm
Apparat is a musician who explores emotions as he experiments in sound. So he had endless scope when composing music for a stage adaptation of Tolstoy's War and Peace, whose epic sweep encompasses every nuance of life and living. His score was released as an acclaimed album, and has now been adapted for this film and music project. Krieg & Frieden is a distillation of Tolstoy's mammoth novel, a haunting and multi-layered sound exploration of the book's themes: leadership, loss, the meaning of existence itself. Apparat, the stage name of the Berlin-based musician Sascha Ring, inspires a passionate following with the euphoric melancholy of his richly textured, emotional electronica and heavy sci-fi soul. In Krieg & Frieden, he takes electronic music to new levels of sophistication and sensitivity.
Sunday 12 May
Brighton Dome Concert Hall, 8pm
The Benin-born Grammy award-winning recording artist deemed "Africa's premier diva" by Time Magazine is considered the continent's most internationally celebrated female musical exponent. Known for her dynamic and uplifting music, Kidjo has translated her distinctive work in the arts to that of philanthropy; by promoting education for girls in Africa through her foundation, Batonga and as a UNICEF Goodwill ambassador Kidjo travels the world to inspire and empower. Her internationally acclaimed repertoire includes collaborations with various recording artists such as Carlos Santana, Peter Gabriel, Alicia Keys, Josh Groban, Branford Marsalis, Joss Stone, and many more. Support from Josephine Oniyama.
Tuesday 14 May
Sam Lee and Friends
All Saints Church, 8pm
Sam Lee is taking Folk back to its roots, and is redefining contemporary folksong in the process. Both a singer and a collector of songs, he has spent years searching the country for communities that are all too often shunned —the Roma, Gypsies and Travellers, who have passed their songs down the generations for centuries — and gathered the songs that they have sung for him. This collection formed the basis for his Mercury Music Prize-nominated debut album Ground of Its Own last year. Follow him on a journey through the ancient songs of the British Isles and prepare to challenge your preconceptions of what ‘traditional folk'should sound like.
Thursday 23 May
Rime of the Ancient Mariner – Tiger Lilies
Brighton Dome Concert Hall
The Tiger Lillies' genre-defying brand of other-worldly vocals and unnerving performance style has carved them a unique niche in the cabaret and music theatre scene. After a hit run of Hamlet in London's Queen Elizabeth Hall, the cult creators of the award-winning Shockheaded Peter, now stage another adaptation a macabre classic. This visceral repackaging of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner takes Coleridge's tale of the sinister and supernatural and adds its own dash of music-hall panache and sometimes shocking perspective. The band's flamboyant live performance is enhanced by large-scale virtual sets that create an immersive and highly atmospheric environment. Across 25 songs and interludes, the legend of the Ancient Mariner unfolds as uncompromising musical and visual melodrama.
Sat 4 – Mon 6 May
EarFilms - To Sleep, To Dream
Brighton Dome Corn Exchange
EarFilms creates a playground for the imagination. Seated within a 3D ambisonic sound system, you are blindfolded to focus your senses. A sonic story unfolds around you, using live storytelling, immersive 3D sound and a musical score to draw you deep into your imagination. In this sensory wonderland, characters walk past you, scenes bustle around you, your ears become your eyes.
Set in a world hit by floods, only one city remains. Dreaming is outlawed. We follow Jack Richards, a man on the edge of sleep, as he stumbles into a group of rebel dream explorers and joins them in their bid to reclaim the dream realm. Written by The Hat's Daniel Marcus Clark and sound design from the team behind Game of Thrones.
Friday 10 May
Brighton Dome Studio Theatre, 9pm
With these nine musicians playing a tight fusion of Cuban timba and salsa with soul, funk, Afro-Cuban grooves, Latin rhythms and dubstep, the dancing never stops. Wara blends a bit of Havana and a bit of Shoreditch to take the Latin sound somewhere completely new – somewhere in which contagious, in-your-face vocals are layered with irresistible dance rhythms and laced with humour. The group's debut EP Somewhereland was released last year; pulsing with musical energy, it's the sound of modern London in all its global glory, a sound that has already seduced audiences at Glastonbury, The Big Chill Festival and the Barbican's Blaze Festival.
Saturday 4 – Friday 10 May
University of Brighton Gallery
Electronic music takes on a whole new meaning in the hands of Felix Thorn, whose intricate installations combine Heath Robinson ingenuity with mesmeric sound and lighting. Each installation is a medley of bespoke mechanical devices, individually designed to make a different sound: hammers strike, drums beat and bells ping with all the range of a percussion orchestra. The result is far from the cacophony you might expect. Programmed by a computer, the machines dovetail into specially composed sequences of hypnotically percussive music, while the accompanying lighting and the movement of a thousand mechanical parts brings everything magically to life. With Felix's Machines, mechanical music has never been less mechanical.
Monday 13 May
Corn Exchange, 7.30pm
No one colours jazz like Zoe Rahman. Her British/Bengali heritage and classical training give her a unique perspective on music-making, a perspective that has placed her at the forefront of the contemporary jazz scene. Zoe's powerful technique and exuberant performance style have been admired from Barbados to Bangladesh in collaborations with Courtney Pine, Martha Wainwright, Jerry Dammers'Spatial AKA, Bob Moses and Danny Thompson. Her compositions and performances are a potent cocktail of classical finesse and jazzy spontaneity, unmissable by anyone who appreciates inspirational music-making. Now, fresh from winning the Best Jazz category at the 2012 MOBO Awards, she brings her fifth album Kindred Spirits to life alongside her acclaimed trio.
For the full Brighton Festival 2013 programme, visit www.brightonfestival.org