Contemporary Music Highlights: Exciting collaborations, immersive events and boundary breaking artists


Uplifting musical events, new and legendary musicians and immersive experiences celebrate music without boundaries in this year’s Festival contemporary music programme.

Read on for the highlights, or explore the full music programme here.

The Power of Music

Our Guest Director, musician and DJ Nabihah Iqbal, will bring her live experimental music project  SUROOR to Brighton for the very first time in a live collaboration with sound artist and musician Raheel Khan, musician Paul Purgas and multi-disciplinary artist Imran Perretta. Nabihah will also explore the power of music and how it connects us with BBC broadcaster Anita Rani and poet and activist Linton Kwesi Johnson for two evenings of music, discussion and joy, Glory to Sound.

Vocalist and composer BISHI partners with Trans Voices, the UK’s first trans+ choir, for Celestial Voices {Swargiya Awaz} to celebrate BISHI’s recent album, Let My Country Awake. There will also be an exclusive world premiere performance of BISHI’s latest piece, Of Herculine.

Legendary trailblazers and rising stars

Multi-Grammy nominated sitarist Anoushka Shankar will bring her unique sound to Brighton Dome’s Concert Hall, with support from Petit Oiseau, a collaboration bringing together Indian classical music and synthesised accompaniment. 

Different Folks will celebrate the heritage and diversity of folk music across an entire weekend at Brighton Dome’s Concert Hall. Headliners include one of folk’s most innovative figures, Martin Carthy, with a career spanning over 50 years, alongside his daughter, Mercury Prize-nominee Eliza Carthy; and celebrated folk and blues musician Shirley Collins MBE will also perform with her Lodestar Band. The line-up is completed by a new wave of folk artists, including Stick in the Wheel, combining folk, electronics and psychedelic guitar; Angeline Morrison, whose latest album The Sorrow Songs: Folk Songs of Black British Experience won The Guardian’s Folk Album of the Year; and Laura Groves, mixing traditional songwriting with electronic layers.  

Known for fusing traditional Indian music and contemporary electronica, Mercury Prize-winning percussionist Talvin Singh will perform, supported by Scottish-Indian protest musician Kapil Seshasayee. Nabihah will also join forces with Notting Hill Carnival mainstay Aba Shanti-I and veteran industry heavyweight Dennis Bovell MBE for an evening celebrating UK bass culture.

Drum 'n' bass's first superstar Goldie will join us for an incredible night celebrating breakbeat, alongside Rinse FM resident and dubplate tastemaker RIZ LA TEEF and Medic MC, a leading talent among the next generation of lyricists.

Boundary-blurring artists

The All Sounds at All Saints series celebrates music without boundaries, bringing together a range of genres and artists for evening performances. 

Sons of Kemet’s Shabaka Hutchings, will be exploring the Japanese shakuhachi flute, followed by virtuoso Otto Hashmi fusing electronica and the recorder. In Byrne/O’Connell/Rogerson, leading early music performer Liam Byrne, Radiohead favourite Clare O’Connell and Brian Eno collaborator Tom Rogerson will bring together traditional and modern sounds. Go-to cellist for FKA twigs, Lucinda Chua, will explore R&B and chamber pop, followed by the downtempo rhythms and ambient electronica of t l k. Closing the week are string duo Belladeste, modern classical composer James Maloney and pianist Pelin Pelin. 

Art and Music Collide

Invisible Flock’s immersive sound installation The Sleeping Tree will surround you with the sounds of the Sumatran rainforest using field recordings from a 3-month-long study of the jungle. The soundscape changes hour to hour as it follows the path of a family of endangered Siamang gibbons..

On 7 May, Nabihah will join Invisible Flock for a unique live performance, highlighting the connection between humans and the forest.

In a world premiere, Brighton-based leftfield pop musician Evadney and Berlin based Infinite Vibes will collaborate to deliver a visually stunning immersive evening, (25 May using AI and machine learning to explore the human experience, alongside Evadney’s amazing vocals. 

And singer/songwriter Nadine Shah turns her talents to the stage in a partnership with writer Jackie Thompson and theatre director Jack McNamara. Marking ten years since her remarkable debut album Love Your Dum and Mad, To Be a Young Man brings the album’s tales of chaos and recovery to life. The evening will end with a very special, pared back musical set from Shah herself. 

For the full music programme and to book tickets, click here.