Get ready for Brighton Festival 2019!

Artists and performers from more than 20 countries converge as Brighton Festival kicks off this weekend, promising a spectacular, vibrant cultural explosion across more than 130 events.


Celebrated Malian musician Rokia Traoré is the guest director for Brighton Festival 2019, the largest annual, curated multi-arts festival in England.

She promises storytelling at the heart of a wide-ranging, diverse and international festival, encouraging audiences to meet, listen and pass on their experiences.

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Running from May 4-26, it promises a space for contemporary expression from around the world.

The importance of respect for all cultures and for nurturing the next generation of artists will be the heart and soul of this year’s programme, offering new and unexpected events across 25 venues and locations across Brighton, Hove.

Rokia has built her own series of events as the spine of the festival.

Coming up, under her auspices, are:

Né So, Saturday, May 4, Brighton Dome Concert Hall. Malian musician Rokia Traoré shares her highly personal sixth album, Né So.

Dream Mandé: Bamanan Djourou, Saturday, May 18, Brighton Dome Concert Hall. Rokia Traoré gives new life to traditional and international songs

Malian Dance Night, Monday, May 20, The Old Market. An evening of Malian dance you will not want to miss.

Dream Mandé: Djata, Tuesday, May 21, Theatre Royal Brighton. Hear the story of the Mandinka sung in original griot form and in English.

Peter Sellars and Rokia Traoré, Friday, May 24, The Old Market. Two incredible artists, two amazing imaginations in conversation.

Rokia said: “As guest director, I set out to bring new voices to the city to tell their stories. Understanding other cultures is so important to the world that we live in and it brings me great joy to shed light on some unexpected voices through this opportunity. I hope that through the Festival, visitors listen to stories from far away and from right next door. Stories with characters and ideas you never could have dreamed of, stories that touch you, thrill you, bring you happiness and perhaps move you to experience life in a different way. I am honoured to share my own stories and I’m filled with joyous anticipation to be guest director for this wonderful gathering of music, art, words, dance and performance. My hope is that the Festival gives everyone a new story to hand down for generations to come.’

Dream Mandé: Djata is the UK premiere of her theatrical and musical project – a monologue structured around the West African griot tradition of oral history storytelling where Rokia is accompanied by two musicians on kora and n’goni instruments. And Dream Mandé: Bamanan Djourou will be a group performance with an orchestra and choir led by Rokia, with re-arrangements of traditional Malian melodies and contemporary songs by the likes of Bob Marley and Fela Kuti. Rokia’s invited guests include artists, musicians and dancers visiting the UK for the first time from Foundation Passerelle, a cultural centre established by Rokia in Mali’s capital city Bamako. The collaboration will form a long-term partnership with Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival.