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Sónar transforms Barcelona into global cultural epicenter

Jul 3, 2016, 6:27 PM | Article By: Njie Baldeh

Sónar will transform Barcelona into the global epicentre of electronic and digital culture, with up to 300 events, concerts, conferences and dozens of innovative projects linked to technology and creativity.

The 23rd edition of Sónar festival presents 130 performances across 8 stages. Among the highlights are a number of European and world premieres; a diverse range of electronica from Latin America, Africa and the Middle East; the pick of the Spanish and Catalan scene; stars of dance music and the international club scene; and a focus on social activism and critical discourse in the work of several artists.

Among the premieres will be new shows from Jean-Michel Jarre, Anohni, James Blake, New Order, Santigold, Flume, Skepta, El Guincho and Niño de Elche + Los Voluble; highly anticipated performances from Kelela, Yung Lean, Howling, John Grant, Kaytranada, Club Cheval, Lafawndah and Jamie Woon; and a classical music recital from British pianist James Rhode. In the field of experimental music Sónar features shows from Alva Noto and Cyclo (marking the 20th anniversary of German label raster-noton); Oneohtrix Point Never; Kode9 & Lawrence Lek; and collaborations between King Midas Sound and Fennesz and DVS1 with Rodhad. Meanwhile, drawing from the fertile scene of electronic dance music will come highly anticipated dj sets from Matias Aguayo, Jackmaster, Mano Le Tough, Kenny Dope, Kerri Chandler, Richie Hawtin, The Black Madonna and John Talabot; live shows from Boys Noize and Bicep, as well as extra special 7hr sets played through a custom sound system from dj’s Four Tet and Laurent Garnier on the revamped SónarCar stage.

Sónar 2016 features two show premieres on Friday, June 17 at Sónar by Night: the world premiere of a new and spectacular Jean-Michel Jarre show, and the first European concert from Anohni (ex Antony & the Johnsons).

 The French producer, electronic music pioneer and creator of legendary and influential albums like “Oxygene” or “Equinox”, offers a giant audiovisual show to present the two parts of his new project, “Electronica”. Meanwhile, Anohni, the British singer resident in New York, begins her new chapter in electronica with “Hopelessness”, the highly political album unanimously praised by the media, which makes its European debut at the festival. She will be accompanied on stage by two of modern electronica’s most important artists: Oneohtrix Point Never and Hudson Mohawke.

 As with every year, Sónar scours the pick of the international electronic scene, presenting them to a Barcelona audience eager for new music: James Blake, Santigold, Kaytranada, Flume, New Order, Kode9, Boys Noize and Yung Lean, all present new albums.

 Activism, social themes and critical discourse at Sónar

 Climate change, mass surveillance, immigration policies, transgender rights... The Sónar and Sónar+D program includes various artists and speakers noted for their political commitment and critical reflections on today’s society, which will also be reflected in the staging of their concerts and the content of their talks.

 Among the highlights are artists such as Anohni, Jean-Michel Jarre, The Black Madonna, Niño de Elche+Los Voluble, Kode9 and Gazelle Twin, as well as key Sónar+D artists like Brian Eno, Semiconductor (creators of the large-scale installation “Earthworks” in SónarPLANTA) and several of the speakers at the Decentralize series of lectures.

 Urban sounds and global dance

 Urban sounds like hip hop, grime or jungle take on a special role at Sónar 2016 in the hands of artists including Skepta, Roots Manuva, Stormzy, Lady Leshurr, Congo Natty, Kelela, Section Boyz and Ivy Lab.

 The festival also pays special attention to artists basing much of their sound on the folklore and traditions of their native countries, such as Ata Kak, Nozinja or Mikael Seifu from the African continent, Nicola Cruz, Las Hermanas and Matias Aguayo from Latin America; or projects based on Mediterranean Arabic traditions such as Insanlar or Acid Arab.