PJ Harvey and Jarvis Cocker booked for Edinburgh International Festival

The Edinburgh International Festival has announced a wide-ranging contemporary music mix to its 2017 Festival programme, which runs from 4-28 August.

Among the highlights is the appearance of PJ Harvey, will play two nights at the Playhouse, and Room 29, a brand new collaboration between former Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker and piano virtuoso Chilly Gonzales.

Alongside performances from the worlds of theatre, dance, opera and classical music, the International Festival invites some of today’s greatest musical pioneers to the Festival City in August.

From the music of India and Afghanistan to Pakistan and Scotland, from folk and soul to psychedelia and beyond, they’ll bring their own unique blend of sounds to the 70th Anniversary International Festival, staying true to the Festival’s founding ideals of internationalism and the power music has to bring people together.

Artists featured include PJ Harvey, Benjamin Clementine, The Magnetic Fields, a tribute to the Incredible String Band, Anoushka Shankar, Jarvis Cocker & Chilly Gonzales amongst others.

Anoushka Shankar whose music though deeply rooted in Indian classical traditions also embraces cross-genre collaborations and contemporary styles from around the world, will perform works from her album, Land of Gold, created in the context of the humanitarian plight of refugees, and invites Qawwali legend from Pakistan Faiz Ali Faiz to be her special guest at the Usher Hall (16 August).

At the Edinburgh Playhouse across two nights, two-time Mercury Prize winner PJ Harvey sings songs from her recent Grammy-nominated and chart-topping album The Hope Six Demolition Project which was inspired by her travels to Kosovo, Afghanistan and Washington DC, as well as material from her catalogue (7 & 8 August).

From one Mercury Prize winner to another. Benjamin Clementine, the former busker now hailed as one of the greatest singer-songwriters of his generation, is joined by special guests at the Festival Theatre for an evening of music across international cultures (10 August).

One of the most influential and ground-breaking groups to come out of Scotland, The Incredible String Band has inspired listeners and bands including The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles since they formed in the late 1960s. Paying homage to the group which split in 1974, former Incredible String Band manager and producer Joe Boyd invites guests to perform songs in the Edinburgh Playhouse alongside collaborators from the group’s original recordings, including founder member Mike Heron and legendary bassist Danny Thompson (17 August).

The King’s Theatre also hosts Room 29, a brand new collaboration between former Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker and piano virtuoso Chilly Gonzales which will give voice to the ghosts of Room 29 at the Chateau Marmont Hotel in Hollywood. Cocker was inspired to write the cycle of songs during his own stay in Room 29 using the room’s baby grand piano, and through music, dance, theatrical clips from Hollywood movies and alongside the Kaiser Quartett, he and Gonzalez reveal the secrets and escapades of the hotel’s famous and not-so-famous occupants (22, 23 & 24 August).

Stephin Merritt, the craftsman behind US indie band The Magnetic Fields, has been called one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th and 21st centuries. To celebrate his 50th birthday Merritt has created a brand new set of 50 songs – one for each year of his life – chronicling moments from the Vietnam War to the New Romantics in London, from painful medical conditions to his ups and downs in love. Merritt divides his 50 Song Memoir across two concerts and is joined on stage by a specially expanded Magnetic Fields septet in a staging in the King’s Theatre that will feature 50 years of both musical and decorative artefacts (25 & 26 August).

Inspired by two Burns-related exhibitions featuring the work of the eminent contemporary Scottish artists Douglas Gordon and Graham Fagan, the poet and Makar Jackie Kay, singer-songwriter Ghetto Priest, bass Brian Bannatyne-Scott and renowned countertenor David James come together with members of the Scottish Ensemble for four special late-night concerts exploring Robert Burns, slavery and Scotland in the atmospheric Great Hall of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery (17 & 18 August).

Anoushka Shankar and Benjamin Clementine’s performances will form part of Spirit of ’47, a collaboration between the International Festival and its co-founder the British Council. Seventy years on from the first ever International Festival in 1947, the curated season of talks, performances and screenings will explore the founding aims of the Festival including global citizenship and international collaboration, within the context of today’s world. The full Spirit of ’47 programme will be announced in May.

For more information visit eif.co.uk/music  and search for individual artists.

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