Llais is Wales Millennium Centre’s annual international arts festival inspired by the instrument that connects us all – the voice. The Centre has just announced its first wave of artists for Llais 2023, including Bat For Lashes, Gwenno and a celebration of Joni Mitchell. The events takes place 11–15 October.
An ode to Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now and Travelogue albums will be a main part of the festival. The performance features Gwenno, Charlotte Church, ESKA and Laura Mvula to be joined by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in a world-first orchestral performance of Both Sides Now.
Bat for Lashes is on the lineup performing iconic hits from her five albums which awarded her three Mercury Prize nominations.
Also performing will be Welsh musician and festival co-curator Gwenno, who received the Welsh Music Prize for her 2014 album release Y Dydd Olaf and whose latest release Tresor (2022) was shortlisted for the Mercury Music Prize. Her retrospective performance will feature renditions from across all her acclaimed albums. Says Gwenno about curating the festival this year:
“It has been such a joy to curate this year’s Llais. I’m a proud Cardiffian and that was always in the back of my mind when thinking of performers and artists to join us. Cardiff is made up of a rich tapestry of cultures and languages that makes the city unique and truly part of the world, and particularly the Docks where Wales Millennium Centre is situated, defines so much of our identity as people of this city, and it was a celebration of this that I was aiming for.”
The Unthanks will also host a special all-day event featuring concerts, participatory events and performances from their critically acclaimed albums The Bairns, Here’s The Tender Coming and Last.
The film Battlescar: Punk was Invented by Girls will be shown from 25 September – 5 November, plus a dedicated exhibition celebrating Cardiff’s punk scene.
English indie folk trio of sisters The Staves will perform from their back catalogue of four studio albums.
James Yorkston and Nina Persson, lead singer of the Cardigans, will also take to Hoddinott Hall to perform hits from their The Great White Sea Eagle album.
Appearing on Saturday 14 October will be Portuguese fado singer and global icon Mariza. Welsh trumpeter, Tomos Williams, will also perform his second showing of Riot! at Llais. Composed of internationally renowned musicians Soweto Kinch and Orphy Robinson, alongside Welsh vocalist Eädyth Crawford and a top-class rhythm section of Aidan Thorne and Mark O’Connor, the immersive Riot! performance will capture elements of jazz, hip-hop, Welsh folk music and the avant-garde, presented with live visuals from Simon Proffitt.
There is much more planned for the exciting few days of the festival as it draws closer. And there is a packed schedule of free workshops and events happening in every space of the Wales Millennium Centre.
Llais tickets are now on sale here at Llais tickets
There is limited availability for Pay What You Can Tickets. Llais festival takes place 11–15 October.
Main image: Gwenno by Claire Marie Bailey