WOW Sounds festival line-up announced

24 Feb 2022

Blog Post

The full line-up for WOW Sounds at WOW London has been announced, including Laura Mvula, Cassie Kinoshi, Miss Baby Sol, Voice of Baceprot,Breakup Haircut, Rakaya Fetuga and Rasha Nahas.

WOW’s special music programme is part of its annual London festival at the Southbank Centre on 11-13 March, supported by Bloomberg, to mark International Women’s Day. The weekend will see performances from artists across the globe who are using their music to create social change and further the feminist movement. Crossing continents, genres and drumsticks, WOW Sounds will get audiences dancing with joy in celebration of the resilience of women, girls and non-binary people everywhere.

WOW London 2022 Artist-in-Residence Miss Baby Sol will kick off the music festivities with a performance of her genre-defying music at the opening event, as well as performances throughout the weekend, including a free hour special set in the Clore Ballroom. The Congolese-born British singer/songwriter has written music to help various Amnesty International campaigns including ‘Stop Violence Against Women’. Her WOW Sounds residency is supported by PRS For Music Foundation. She will be joined by Indonesian Muslim all-girl rock band Voice of Baceprot (VOB), WOW's first ever international artist in residence who will be appearing digitally throughout festival events. The band formed in 2014 when they started using music to raise awareness of the lack of education for girls in their communities. As part of their residency, supported by the British Council, the acclaimed band will create new work and music videos about gender equality to perform over the festival period online.

On 13 March world renowned scholar Professor Angela Y. Davis joins the Festival live from San Francisco in a one-off, special event to celebrate the much anticipated re-publication of her blazing autobiography - An Autobiography - nearly 50 years since it was first published. Part of the celebration will include two unique performances from groundbreaking artists Laura Mvula and Cassie Kinoshi, using their music to pay homage to Davis’ lifetime of work. Emerging talent Cassie Kinoshi is a Mercury Award-nominated composer and alto-saxophonist who will be opening the event with a jazz quartet. The night will end with MOBO award-winning Laura Mvula who will be performing a special stripped back performance to honour Professor Davis.

Roundhouse Poetry Slam winner Rakaya Fetuga will be performing her work with Mashala fencers - a project making fencing accessible to muslim girls and using the sport to change perceptions. Rakaya’s poetry explores overlapping identities, faith and culture as self-affirmation. Berlin-based Palestinian singer-songwriter and instrumentalist Rasha Nahas will be playing a stripped back set. Rasha creates a sound that moves seamlessly between the resonances of early rock ‘n’ roll and the reckless echoes of free jazz, complemented by her distinctive approach to songwriting, storytelling and performance. These WOW Sounds performances will be part of ticketed events Friday at WOWandSaturday at WOW.

Hosted by Miss Baby Sol, WOW Sounds Hour on Sunday will be a special free gig featuring Nadia Javed, who has spent the past decade fronting all-female, all-feminist band The Tuts. Nadia will be performing her new solo material which explores identity and politics; delving into her hilarious and relatable anecdotes from her journey growing up as a working class British Muslim punk in London. She will be joined by Breakup Haircut, a DIY punk band bringing fierce basslines, humorously relatable lyrics, and a vehement determination not to recycle the same three punk drum beats.

WOW Sounds and the Southbank Centre’s Spiritland will present six of the most fiercely talented female DJs across two nights. Friday’s lineup will see DJ Paulette - a name synonymous with the history of UK club culture. The Manchester DJ has held residencies at some of the country’s most beloved nightclubs including The Hacienda, Heaven, The Ministry of Sound and Brighton’s legendary Zap club. Hilit Kolet brings a deep, refined and soulful house sensibility to her sets, forged from years behind the turntables, the mixing desk and the counter at Black Market Records. A recent track on Defected at the end of 2021 took her beyond the underground and brought national and international attention. The night will also bring Norsicaa, the woman behind Soundway Records, a regular in the Spiritland booth and a selector of immaculate taste.

On Saturday, South African DJ Lakuti will take to the booth. Now based in Berlin after a long residency in London, she regularly plays at some of the world’s most prolific clubs including Berghain / Panorama Bar, Lux, Nowadays and Chicago’s Smart Bar. Zakia is a DJ, collector, radio presenter and audio producer of rare talent, her NTS show is the highlight of a weekend, and her recent BBC Radio series My Albion explored her musical identity and background. They will be joined by Spiritland resident Frederika (Discs of Fun and Love) - an unmistakable presence in the DJ booth, armed with rare funk, soul and disco mixed to perfection.

Alongside the Angela Davis event, the wider line-up includes unmissable events with Black Lives Matter co-founder and former Executive Director, and TIME 100 most influential person Patrisse Cullors; Booker Prize-Winning author Bernardine Evaristo; author and broadcaster Elizabeth Day of the podcast phenomenon How to Fail; bestselling writers Lisa Taddeo and Pandora Sykes; Lucy Kirkwood’s searing, timely play Maryland, and a riotous festival finisher from Figs in Wigs - Little Wimmin - a brilliantly satirical adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott classic; bestselling author Marian Keyes, poet Warsan Shire, comedian Deborah Frances-White, activist Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan, as well as The Urgent Conversation led by Jude Kelly, a panel on the most pressing gender equality issues - with the timely programme and panel to be confirmed just ahead of the weekend.