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Janelle Monae to headline Manchester International Festival

Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Janelle Monáe is to perform on the opening night of the Manchester International Festival (MIF) next year.

The musician is to headline an open-air event at Castlefield Bowl on 4 July in the city, which begins the 18-day festival.

The concert is one of two that Monáe will be playing in the UK in 2019. She kickstarts the festival which also includes work from Yoko Ono, Idris Elba, Kwame Kwei-Armah and Skepta.

The full programme is yet to be announced.

Monáe’s work includes her album Dirty Computer which was nominated for a Grammy for Best Album. She has recently moved into an acting career and starred in films Hidden Figures and Moonlight.

John McGrath, artistic director and CEO at MIF said: “We’re thrilled that Janelle Monáe is performing on the opening night of MIF19. Justifiably, she’s getting widespread acclaim for her work and we’re delighted that Manchester is hosting one of only two shows she is planning for the UK in 2019. It will be a sensational event and adds to an exciting start to the Festival.”

Yoko Ono, Idris Elba, and Skepta are also set to take part at next year’s MIF.

Ono’s work, “Bells for Peace”, which opens the festival, will see roughly 8,000 members of the public form an orchestra of bells in Manchester’s Cathedral Gardens. Those members of the public interested in participating can sign up in advance, or turn up to play or listen on the day.

The performance will also feature bells sculpted by the artist.

“The beauty of this piece will break the sky and more,” Ono said of the project. “More than ever, we must come together to heal each other, and the world. Peace is power!” the 85-year-old added.

Skepta, 36, will launch Dystopia987; a live performance by the rapper, alongside live guests and DJs, structured around a loose narrative set in a dystopian future.

MIF artistic director John McGrath has described it as “somewhere between an immersive theatrical experience and a futuristic rave.”

Meanwhile, 46-year-old Elba has collaborated with Kwame Kwei-Armah, the artistic director of London’s Young Vic theatre, on a musical theatre production exploring contemporary South Africa.

TNT Entertainment

Photo Credit: janellemonae

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