Exciting news today from the Edinburgh International Festival as an additional show from Damon Albarn is announced as part of its 2021 contemporary music programme.
Following high demand for tickets for his first show, the Blur and Gorillaz frontman will give two appearances at Edinburgh Park for the world’s leading performing arts festival on Tuesday 24 August, with one at 5pm and a further show at 8.30pm.
Accompanied by his band and a string quartet, the Edinburgh International Festival performances mark a rare solo appearance for Damon Albarn, who presents tracks from his extensive songbook, including his forthcoming new album The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows. Originally intended as an orchestral piece inspired by the landscapes of Iceland, during this last year Albarn has returned to the music in lockdown and developed the work to 11 tracks which further explore themes of fragility, loss, emergence and rebirth. The result is a panoramic collection of songs with Albarn as storyteller. The album title is taken from a John Clare poem Love and Memory.
Other highlights of the International Festival’s contemporary music programme include soulful singer Laura Mvula with material from her new album Pink Noise and one of Neu! Reekie!’s distinctive cross-culture experiences headlined by Orange Juice front man and Scottish singer-songwriter royalty Edwyn Collins.
Anna Meredith returns to Edinburgh to perform her second album FIBS, Nadine Shah performs her latest album The Kitchen Sink and Kathryn Joseph joins the bill with her haunting, beautiful balladry. Jazz artists include female-led music collective Kokoroko, producer-drummer Moses Boyd and London’s The Comet is Coming.
Edinburgh-based Scottish/African choir Shona the Music Choir present original songs from Shona the Musical, bringing alive the vibrancy, splendour and joyous harmonies of Africa with an eclectic western twist.
Northumbrian musician Richard Dawson performs tracks from his concept albums Peasant and 2020, and multi-disciplinary artist and composer Erland Cooper performs music from his Orkney trilogy: Solan Goose, Sule Skerry and Hether Blether. The Unthanks perform their poetic mixture of folk music and storytelling and indie folk sister trio The Staves play songs from their new album Good Woman.
Art rock four-piece black midi make an appearance, while fellow Londoners Black Country, New Road play tracks from their debut album For The First Time.
Electronic artists on the line-up 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.
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, and Glasgow-based four-piece Tide Lines with their trademark anthemic folk rock.
A full line-up can be found at www.eif.co.uk/contemporarymusic.
Tickets for Damon Albarn’s additional performance on Tuesday 24 August, 5pm are on sale now at www.eif.co.uk/events/damon-albarn