The International Festival’s Edinburgh Park series includes concerts featuring contemporary music which has come to signify the festival in recent years.
On opening nights in the past the music by Mogwai has entranced us, and it has been a deliberate move on the part of festival director, Fergus Linehan to incorporate a wider range of music in the programme.
This year the contemporary music section has a grand new home in the pavilion at Parabola’s Edinburgh Park, where there are fewer near neighbours.
Accompanied by a band and string section, Blur and Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn presents tracks from across his songbook, including the current project The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows, originally inspired by the landscapes of Iceland and expanded during lockdown, exploring themes of fragility, emergence and rebirth. The title is taken from a John Clare poem Love and Memory.
Anna Meredith comes back to Edinburgh after the unforgettable Five Telegrams at the 2018 International Festival to perform her second album FIBS. Post-punk singer-songwriter Nadine Shah performs her latest album The Kitchen Sink and Mercury nominee Laura Mvula performs material from her new album Pink Noise in her recognisably soulful jazz style, infused with 80s new wave and dance-pop. Kathryn Joseph, winner of Scottish Album of the Year in 2015 for her debut album Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled, joins the bill with her haunting, beautiful balladry.
Jazz artists include female-led music collective Kokoroko who bring their distinctive mix of West African highlife, jazz and afrobeat to Scotland for the first time. Producer-drummer Moses Boyd, one of the most exciting new voices in British jazz, is also on the line-up, along with London’s The Comet is Coming, who return to Edinburgh with their explosive cosmic jazz rave.
Northumbrian musician Richard Dawson performs dark, folk-influenced tracks from his concept albums Peasant and 2020, and multi-disciplinary artist and composer Erland Cooper performs music from his lauded Orkney trilogy: Solan Goose, Sule Skerry and Hether Blether. Family folk band The Unthanks perform their poetic mixture of folk music and storytelling and indie folk sister trio The Staves come to the city with songs from their new album Good Woman.
Genre-melting, guitar-noise four-piece black midi make an appearance, while fellow Londoners Black Country, New Road play tracks from their debut album For The First Time.
The programme also includes West Lothian indie heroes The Snuts, whose debut album became the first by a Scottish band to top the Official Album chart in 14 years. Glasgow-based four-piece Tide Lines perform their trademark anthemic folk rock, rooted firmly in the Highlands, and Edinburgh’s Neu! Reekie! programme one of their signature multi-genre experiences.
Electronic artists performing include Floating Points, combining his classically trained background with UK garage, spiritual jazz and broken-beat influences and Canadian electronic artist Dan Snaith, AKA Caribou, with his latest LP Suddenly.
International artists include Malian singer, songwriter, guitarist and acclaimed actress Fatoumata Diawara with material from her Wassoulou and Mali blues influenced back catalogue. Californian art-pop duo Tune-Yards perform material from their latest album sketchy.
A full line-up and information on individual concerts be found at www.eif.co.uk/contemporarymusic