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

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