Belfast International Arts Festival Launched

A celebration of home grown and world-renowned talent, the programme for the 57th Belfast International Arts Festival has been launched ahead of the opening event in October.

Cuban-born Parisian musician, La Dame Blanche, will headline the festival with a performance at the Belfast Empire, and showcased her material at the launch at the Black Box.

The singer, whose real name is Yaite Ramos Rodriguez, is the daughter of the Creative Director of the Buena Vista Social Club. Her show on Saturday 19 October will be one of 200 events and 14 premieres across the city.

Themes of this year's festival include internationalism and artistic fusion, celebrated through a mixture of music, dance, film, visual arts, literature and theatre.

Unveiling the programme, Festival Artistic Director Richard Wakely revealed that Belfast has been chosen to contribute to two major international cultural celebrations, Japan-UK Season of Culture and FranceDance UK.
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He said: "The 2019 Belfast International Arts Festival will open on 15 October with the UK premiere of Median, a contemporary paring of choreography with digital projection and electronic sound from Japanese multi-disciplinary artist Hiroaki Umeda. Think of the most creative music videos by Radiohead and Aphex Twin, meets the stealth and intensity of The Matrix. Also featuring in the programme will be ASUNA, a wonderful young artist from Tokyo with his quirky, immersive sound installation, 100 Keyboards. It is an honour to have been selected to host some of Japan’s finest artists."

Mr Wakeley also revealed another major arts first for the city, co-hosting the first ever all-Ireland dance conference on the weekend of 25 October. Co-Motion will be held in partnership with Dance Ireland, Dance Resource Base and Queen's University Belfast.

Meanwhile, the eclectic musical offering in this year's programme will feature two Glen Hansard shows in the Grand Opera House, as well as County Down born Two Door Cinema Club and a host of classical performances.

Launching the programme, Lord Mayor of Belfast said he was looking forward to the festival with its new and improved programme. He said of the event: "It not only attracts fantastic world-renowned international acts, but it also showcases home-grown talent and helps to position Belfast as a must visit cultural destination. It’s fantastic to see the festival go from strength to strength each year. I'd encourage everyone to check out this year's impressive programme and wish everyone involved in the festival the very best of luck."


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