Award-winning Malian singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Rokia Traoré has been named as the 11th Brighton Festival Guest Director, following in the footsteps of the likes of David Shrigley (2018), Kate Tempest (2017), Laurie Anderson (2016), and Brian Eno (2010).
The festival will include the UK premiere of Rokia Traoré’s theatrical and musical project Dream Mandé Djata, a musical monologue which pays tribute to the ancient art of the griots of West Africa.
With her work rooted in the Malian musical tradition, yet embracing Western traditions, Rokia’s nomadic upbringing (her father was a diplomat) exposed her to a wide variety of musical influences that included Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Richard Wagner, Serge Gainsbourg, and The Rolling Stones. A protégé of the legendary guitarist Ali Farka Touré, she has collaborated with artists such as Damon Albarn, Devendra Banhart and the Kronos Quartet.
On her appointment as Brighton Festival Guest Director Rokia Traoré said, “I knew Brighton Festival and how well organised it is and being part of the team and exchanging ideas about which artists will be performing and why, is an interesting experience for me. It is an opportunity to take the time to look at and to think about other artists’ work.”
Established in 1967, Brighton Festival is the largest annual curated multi-arts festival in England. A celebration of music, theatre, dance, circus, art, film, literature, debate, outdoor and family events, it takes place in venues both familiar and unusual across Brighton and Hove for three weeks every May.
Full programme details will be announced on 13th February.