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What are the artists taking part in this year’s International Festival looking forward to the most? In the lead up to opening night, we've invited a number of performers to tell us what’s on their must-see list.


Here are Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE's Festival highlights:

1. Dancing In The Streets: Gregory Maqoma

Gregory Maqoma is scheduled for 20 and 21 August, however, I’d want to see all four Dancing in The Streets events as I think the concept is exactly how I like to picture the world, not just now (following a pandemic) but all year round. There is enough talent, knowledge and wealth to go around in this world that nobody ever needs to go hungry or uneducated. If world leaders could combine this understanding then we could all be dancing in the streets!

2. A Toast to the People

I’d love to hear Wana Udobang on 25 August because traditional storytelling practises are sadly fading and I know the impact of learning through this form of education is vital. If ever there was a time to do this, it’s now. I also love the idea of the ‘unexpected’ and the interaction between performers and audience.

Wana Odubang pictured wearing a gold shirt and blue skirt

Wana Udobang, who performs alongside Hollie Mcnish on 25 August.

3. Ballaké Sissoko and Vincent Ségal

This would be an absolute must on 17 August… to experience a coming together of more than one musical genre and throw away our pre-conceived notions of who and what can collaborate with who or what.

0 Stars

It’s wonderful to see such a young group committed to manifesting the importance of cultural tradition.

Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE on Breabach

4. Breabach 

...to really get inside the sounds of tradition and the history of nearby lands. It’s wonderful to see such a young group committed to manifesting the importance of cultural tradition.

5. Marin Alsop with BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

The International Festival deserves to be treated to Strum by my dear friend Jessie Montgomery and to have some ‘live’ Beethoven Five be experienced following last year’s wipe-out. It will be great to experience this combination of music conducted by another dear friend, Marin Alsop.

Marin Alsop


Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE is the founder and artistic and executive director of the Chineke! Foundation, which gives Black and ethnically diverse classical musicians a platform on which to excel. She performs at this year’s International Festival as part of the Chineke! Ensemble and Chineke! Orchestra.


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