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.

The pavilion at Edinburgh Park is under construction Photo Martin P McAdam

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

Damon Albarn

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  FIBSNadine 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