Night of Female Electronic Artists at Manchester International Festival

From top left: Aïsha Devi, Jlin, Holly Herndon, Mary Anne Hobbs, Klara Lewis and Katie Gately.

Night of Female Electronic Artists at Manchester International Festival

Queens of the Electronic Underground takes place on 20 July.

A night of new electronic music by female artists will take place as part of this year’s Manchester International Festival. The multi-disciplinary arts festival (4–21 July), a biennial event, is now in its sixth iteration and features a mix of music, theatre, dance and spoken word. This year will see the festival host a range of world premieres and artists such as David Lynch, Idris Elba, Yoko Ono and grime artist Skepta.

Queens of the Electronic Underground 
Five international female electronic musicians – Jlin, Holly Herndon, Aïsha Devi, Katie Gately and Klare Lewis – will come together for a six-hour evening of music and visuals at the O2 Ritz on 20 July, curated by Mary Anne Hobbs of BBC Radio 6 Music.

Indian artist Jlin, whose latest album Autobiography was described in the Journal of Music as balancing ‘her complex and highly digital beats and pads with hints of the organic’ has collaborated with and remixed the work of Max Richter and Ben Frost. Avant-garde pop and electronic artist Holly Herndon has just released her third studio album Proto. It features a number of vocalists, developers, and artificial intelligence software housed in a gaming PC, to create an album that combines folk singing and AI.

Swiss electronic artist Aïsha Devi’s work is a combination of strong, guttural vocals, trance-like beats, and a spiritual theme and approach to performance. She will be collaborating with visual artist MFO, also known as Marcel Weber. Katie Gately is an American experimental electronic artist whose music ranges from abstract vocals to more melodic pop songs. After self-releasing her own work, Gately has since contributed to music on Fat Cat Records and remixed the work of Bjork.

Klare Lewis is a sound artist who bases her work around the use of samples and field recordings and performs her work both in art galleries as well as music venues and clubs.

A new game commission by animator and video game creator Paloma Dawkins will be released on 4 July, inspired by the music of Queens of the Underground.

MIF Commissions 
As well as Queens of the Underground, Yoko Ono will premiere her Bells for Peace at MIF, a performance involving vocals and an orchestra of bells, with a call for peace at the heart of the event. The performance is a commission by the festival and will include special workshops across the city with people creating and designing bells for the concert.

Grime musician Skepta is hosting another MIF commission, a dance event in a secret location. DYSTOPIA987 will feature Skepta performing with a range of non-disclosed DJs for a night of dance and music around the theme of Skepta’s vision of the future.

Also taking place during the festival will be TREE, Idris Elba’s music theatre piece inspired by South African politics and the life of Nelson Mandela; and David Lynch is curating a series of events including performances with singer Anna Calvi and screenings of Lynch’s Twin Peaks.

For more on Manchester International Festival, visit

Published on 18 June 2019


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