Wales Millennium Centre’s flagship international arts festival is returning to Cardiff from the 26th October with a new name and an eclectic line-up of international acts, all kicking off with the iconic Welsh Music Prize ceremony.

The Centre has just announced the latest artists to join the line-up. Iconic Russian punk rock performance art collective PUSSY RIOT will bring their award-winning show Riot Days to the festival. More relevant and vital than ever, the show is an innovative combination of live music, theatre and video, produced by Alexander Cheparukhin and directed by Yuri Muravitsky.

It’s ten years ago since the band made headlines when they staged a guerrilla gig at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. They performed their anti-Putin ‘anthem’ Mother of God Drive Putin Away. That led to further protests and the subsequents arrest, and imprisonments of three of the groups members, including NADAYA TOLOKONNIKOVA, who was perceived as the ringleader.

I remember back in the day, my favourite quote came from an elderly Russian lady who was stood outside the church at the time. She said…..

“They walked into the heart of Russia and took a s**t”.

The activists were released a year later but continued spreading their message ever since. Recently they raised funds for Ukrainian war refugees.

As for their music, it continues to grow and mature over the years, with the release of their latest seven-track mixtape which has singer/songwriter TOVE LO as the executive producer.

PUSSY RIOT play the Weston Studio on Friday 28th October at 8pm. Tickets are £22.50 and you can get them HERE.

Pussy Riot to play Cardiff

Trailblazing grime artist D DOUBLE E, who was integral to the establishment of grime in the UK, will headline Wales Millennium Centre’s Weston Studio supported by some of the finest emerging artists from across Wales. Joining D Double E on stage are Pennines-based drill artist SAGE TODZ and Swansea rapper MARINO, and opening the show are some of the most exciting grime MCs in Wales – MANLIKEVISION, NIQUES, RAZKID, SMXK3 and TRUTH.

Welsh band AUDIOBOOKS will join the previously announced singer songwriter KEELEY FORSYTH in a double bill.

Across five days, LLAIS will fill every nook and corner of Wales Millennium Centre with a programme inspired by the instrument that connects us all – the voice. Audiences will be treated to a packed schedule of incredible live music, inspiring digital experiences, free workshops and events.

LLAIS – PREVIEW

The festival will start on the Wednesday with the Welsh Music Prize ceremony; arguably the focal point of the industry’s calendar in Wales, celebrating the finest music made in Wales or by Welsh people around the world. The ceremony will include live performances and the announcement of three prizes, including the coveted Welsh Music Prize itself.  

The festival line-up includes John Cale, who performed at the inaugural Festival of Voice in 2016, returning in his 80th birthday year to perform a special one-off performance with Sinfonia Cymru and special guests, and to chat about his life and career. Death Songbook, featuring delicate new versions of songs about death performed online at last year’s Gŵyl 2021 by Suede’s Brett Anderson, Charles Hazlewood, and Paraorchestra, will be performed in front of a live audience for the first time.

Wales Millennium Centre’s Artistic Director Graeme Farrow told us…..

“We’ve put together a cracking line-up for this year’s Llais; from veterans to the hottest new talent, from Wales and the world over, from poets to Paraorchestra. And to top it all off, we’re incredibly proud to welcome the iconic Welsh Music Prize to the festival. It feels like a match made in music heaven.”

Graeme Farrow – Wales Millennium Centre (Photo: Rhys Cozens)

Also appearing will be legendary South African jazz pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, Texan indie folk rockers Midlake, English rock band black midi and Wales’ own Cate Le Bon. Niger-based musician Bombino will perform his only UK date this year as well as eight-piece experimental London band caroline and psych-folk group Tara Clerkin Trio. In between performances, audiences can also enjoy interactive rave experience In Pursuit of Repetitive Beats – one of the sell-out smash hits of Coventry UK City of Culture last year.

Other acts include composer, singer and actor Keeley Forsyth who released her second album Limbs earlier this year, and Les Amazones d’Afrique; a creative force from across the African diaspora.

There will also be a packed schedule of free workshops and events filling every nook and corner of Wales Millennium Centre. Further acts will be announced in September.

Okay, here are all the performers, dates and ticket details you need…….

South Africa’s most distinguished master pianist, ABDULLAH IBRAHIM, performs an intimate and exquisite solo show.

Taking us on an unforgettable spiritual journey through gospel and jive, American jazz and classical – the sacred and secular is to be anticipated.

ABDULLAH IBRAHIM gets to the BBC Hoddinott Hall on Thursday 27th October at 7pm. Tickets are £32.50 and you can get yours HERE.

Abdullah Ibrahim

A sublime evening of West African music, with superstar Tuareg guitarist and singer-songwriter, BOMBINO + the polyrhythmic harmonies of all female supergroup LES AMAZONES D’AFRIQUE.

Opening the evening are Les Amazones d’Afrique, a female collective that has expanded to involve female artists from across Africa and the diaspora.

Grammy nominated, Bombino, with his captivating vocals, hypnotic, awe-inspiring guitar playing, and evocative rhythms have established himself as one of the world’s greatest guitar players and introduced the world to his own unique musical genre, dubbed ‘Tuareggae’ – a blend of Tuareg guitar with reggae rhythm.

BOMBINO + LES AMAZONES D’AFRIQUE also play the BBC Hoddinott Hall. The date is Sunday 30th October at 6pm with tickets £28. All the details you need are HERE.

Bombino + Les Amazones D’Afrique

A night with Cate Le Bon + black midi with support from Alice Low.

With her first Cardiff performance of her hugely acclaimed new album Pompeii, CATE LE BON, has been described as ‘one of the best making music out there’ by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco fame.

BLACK MIDI bring their own unique brand of genre-blending chaos to the Donald Gordon Theatre. With the release of their third album Hellfire in 2022, experimental post rock trio, black midi, are crushing

Cardiff-based artist ALICE LOW writes songs song full of pop melodies and danceable hooks, her debut single Ladydaddy, a fourteen-minute epic that sounds as if David Bowie, Scott Walker and John Grant came together to make a song.

CATE LE BON + BLACK MIDI and ALICE LOW Play the Donald Gordon stage at the WMC on Sunday 30th October from 7pm. Tickets start at £20 and you can get yours HERE.

Cate Le Bon + Black Midi

CAROLINE are an eight-piece, London-based band who formed during weekly improvisation sessions between founder members, Jasper Llewellyn, Mike O’Malley and Casper Hughes.

The band’s music blends shared influences and experiences of playing a wide range of genres including: Midwestern Emo guitar music, Appalachian folk, minimalist classical and various forms of dance music.

TARA CLERKIN TRIO are Pat Benjamin, Sunny Joe Paradisos and Tara Clerkin, three musicians involved in a number of cult Bristol bands over the years before confidently settling down into a triangle formation.

CAROLINE + TARA CLERKIN TRIO are at the WMC Weston Studio on Saturday 29th October from 6:30pm. Tickets are £15 each from HERE.

Caroline + Tara Clerkin Trio

BRETT ANDERSON, CHARLES HAZLEWOOD, PARAORCHESTRA + a special guest come together for a live performance of ‘Death Songbook’.

The exquisite anthology features music by icons such as Echo and the Bunnymen, Skeeter Davis, Japan, David Bowie/Jacques Brel, and Suede.

This rich set – amplified by the diversity and virtuosity of Paraorchestra musicians in new arrangements by composer Charlotte Harding – features delicate new versions of songs about death, the death of love, of loss, and ultimately of transcendence.

They play the main Donald Gordon stage on Saturday 29th October at 7:30pm. Tickets start from £20 and you can get them HERE.

Death Songbook: Brett Anderson and Charles Hazlewood with Paraorchestra + special guest

DIRTY POP is back and sleepin’ real good at night. They’re bringing the party to Llais for the ultimate Saturday night.

They’re bringing friends, special guests and a touch of Halloween magic.

Tickets are just a fiver for DIRTY POP which begins at 9:30pm on Saturday 29th October. You can get all the details HERE.

Dirty Pop

IN PURSUIT OF REPETITIVE BEATS is an interactive virtual reality experience by award-winning filmmaker Darren Emerson, inviting audiences to go in search of an illegal rave, one night in Coventry in 1989.

From poster-strewn bedrooms to pirate radio stations, police headquarters to secret warehouses, you’ll step-into the shoes of rave culture pioneers as you go in search of the party.

Witness this social phenomenon first-hand, in an immersive exhibition and explorable virtual world set at the end of a turbulent decade in the UK. Combining Acid House tracks with interactivity and multi-sensory simulation.

In Pursuit of Repetitive Beats brings to life the stories of the promoters, police officers, and rave-goers, whose rivalries and relationships drove a revolution in music and society.

IN PURSUIT OF REPETITIVE BEATS is absolutely FREE and runs from 27th October through to 6th November. Tickets are available from the 19th July HERE.

  • Each session has a capacity of 4; you can book as an individual or in groups of between 2-4.
  • The VR experience runs for approximately 30 minutes (not including the welcome briefing); please arrive at least 10 minutes before the start of your session and allow for up-to an hour from start-to-finish.
  • The whole experience takes place in an installation space in which visitors wear a VR headset; during the experience you will move around in the space wearing the headset, engaging with virtual and physical/sensory experiences. This has been designed to feel safe, and to be as intuitive, enjoyable, and accessible as possible for everyone.
In Pursuit of Repetitive Beats

Llais welcomes back Welsh musical legend JOHN CALE, for this special one-off show with Sinfonia Cymru and special guests.

A founding member of legendary band The Velvet Underground and with 16 solo albums under his belt, he has collaborated with countless musicians including his good friend Brian Eno and produced several movie scores and albums for other musicians including 

Patti Smith’s debut LP ‘Horses’ and the debut of The Stooges.

JOHN CALE + SPECIAL GUESTS get to the Donald Gordon stage on Friday 28th October at 7:30pm, tickets start at £20 from HERE.

John Cale

KEELEY FORSYTH brings her haunting vocals and sparse emotive arrangements to Llais.

A musician and actor and from Oldham in the North West, Forsyth’s music is centred around a singular, emotionally raw, and magnetic vocal delivery, which is equally devastating and uplifting. Her remarkably raw vocals have garnered comparisons to Scott Walker and Aldous Harding.

The characters who populate her songs tell stories of the high and low tides, of freedom and entrapment, of hard-won triumphs and the darker corners of domestic life. Her stunning second and latest album ‘Limbs’ was released in February 2022.

KEELEY FORSYTH + AUDIOBOOKS are at the Weston Studio on Sunday 30th October at 7pm. Tickets are £12.50 from HERE.

Keeley Forsyth

American folk rock band MIDLAKE return with their fifth studio album, ‘For the Sake of Bethel Woods’ to play an intimate, seated gig in Hoddinott Hall at this year’s festival.

After the release of two successful albums, ‘The Trials of Van Occupanther’ (2006) and ‘The Courage of Others’ (2010) singer, Tim Smith departed Midlake in 2012 and Eric Pulido stepped up to the lead vocal role for 2013’s freshly exploratory ‘Antiphon’, teasing out singular routes through vintage electric-folk pastures.

Reuniting after eight years, the bandmates were adamant that Midlake needed their absolute focus.

MIDLAKE play the BBC Hoddinott Hall on Saturday 29th October at 8:30pm. Tickets are £28 and you can get them, and all the details HERE.

Midlake

Home: a physical place or a state of mind where you feel most at peace

Holm: an island in a river

Come with us and explore Flat Holm island through an immersive film installation. Created by SheWolf, a disability-led company that brings landscape alive through performance, this installation captures the company’s year-long residency on Cardiff’s closest island – an island at risk from rising sea levels.

This filmed site-responsive work deeply inhabits and enlivens the hidden stories of Flat Holm’s landscape, scattered with wildflowers growing through the crumbling remains of centuries of human occupation, re-awakening them in the imagination of the public. Told through the body and voice of a lone woman in chronic pain, across the cycle of a year’s turn, this is an intimate duet between broken body and damaged earth – the search for home/holm in Flat Holm’s brutal yet beautiful embrace. 

NO PLACE LIKE (FLAT) HOLM is running all across the weekend. Tickets aren’t available yet, but when they are they’ll be FREE and you can get yours HERE.

No Place Like (Flat) Holm

Join PENARTH SOUL CLUB for one final night out on the floor at Llais.

Penarth Soul Club was established in September 2014 by Liam Curtin and Shelley Barrett as a bi-monthly club night at Penarth Ex-Servicemen’s Club drawing people from far and wide with a varied mix of soul music from iconic labels such as Tamla Motown, Stax, Atlantic, Chess and Invictus + plenty of Northern Soul.

The night continued to draw people from far and wide and grow from strength to strength including support slots with the likes of Lee Fields and Craig Charles.

In 2021 when Liam and Shelley started the Penarth Music Explosion nights with DJs Matthew Morgan and Steve Kaged they decided to end Penarth Soul Club but they will be returning for one last time exclusively at Llais. This will be the last ever Penarth Soul Club night, so don’t miss it!

PENARTH SOUL CLUB is on the 28th October from 8:45pm and tickets are £5 from HERE.

Penarth Soul Club

Singing harpist, hyper-local celebrity and ‘gal about town’ SAM HICKMAN will be bringing some of her favourite local talent to Llais.

Join Sam as she introduces some of the best musicians, comedians and drag artists gracing the local scene.

SAM HICKMAN VARIETY HOUR is at 7pm on Saturday 29th October. Tickets are £7 from HERE.

Sam Hickman Variety Hour

This year’s WELSH MUSIC PRIZE will take place live from our Donald Gordon Theatre and officially open this year’s Llais festival! 

And this year you can be there too watching some amazing bands performing! Tickets are available for just £8 per person, so grab yours and enjoy this incredible Welsh music event.

Founded in 2011, the Welsh Music Prize celebrates the finest music made in Wales or by Welsh people around the world. With a commitment to diversity and fine production, the Welsh Music Prize continues to champion the best new music in Wales.

The prize is open to albums of all genres and past winners have included the likes of Kelly Lee Owens, Adwaith, Boy Azooga, Deyah, Gruff Rhys, Gwenno and more.

WELSH MUSIC PRIZE is on the Donal Gordon stage at the WMC on Wednesday 26th October from 7pm. Tickets are £8 from HERE.

Welsh Music Prize

As you can see, the festival is packed already, with so much more to come soon. Bookmark this page and we’ll bring you all the announcements as and when they happen.

The original Festival of Voice was held in 2016 and 2018. In 2020, Wales Millennium Centre announced its intention to make the festival annual, and though that year’s festival was cancelled, in November 2021 it bounced back with 20 acts from across Wales and the world.

To find out more about LLAIS and check out all the ticket and events, go HERE.