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Sónar 2019 presents more than 80 premieres and unique experiences among 140 performances by artists from 36 countries

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Sónar 2019 presents more than 80 premieres and unique experiences among 140 performances by artists from 36 countries

Among dozens of premieres (exclusive worldwide or in Spain) and unique experiences are the new shows by Arca, Holly Herndon, Four Tet, Floating Points, BERLINIST presents GRIS Game Live, Bad Gyal,Hauschka & Francesco Donadello, Cecilio G and three back to back dj sets conceived exclusively for Sónar: Louie Vega & Honey Dijon, Peggy Gou & Palms Trax and Blawan & Dax J.

After its 25th anniversary, this year the festival reaffirms its vocation for diversity, with an important presence of creators who elaborate their artistic discourses from a radical point of view or on geographical, political, sonorous or gender fringes. K Á R Y Y Y N, Lotic, Jlin, Muqata’a, Hibotep or Sevdaliza stand out in this line.

This edition listens to the sounds from all the different corners of the world, with artists from 36 countries, and a special focus on the new sound of Africa such as Petite Noir, Deena Abdelwahed, Sho Madjozi, DJ Lag, Obongjayar, Faka, Slikback, and voices from Latin America, with Bad Bunny, Nicola Cruz, Dengue Dengue Dengue, LAO & Wasted Fates (N.A.A.F.I.), Jesse Baez, ha$lopablito, or La Diabla.

The national scene is also strongly represented by talents such as Bad Gyal, Dellafuente, Cecilio G, Territoire, Ylia, Virgen Maria, Tutu, Desert+Desilence, Hamill Industries, Mans O, Aleesha, La Diabla, Phran, $kyhook, Rrucculla or Alba G. Corral, among many others.

Faithful to its commitment to technological advances and with the will to connect Sónar’s programming with that of Sónar+D, the festival presents several shows that explore the relationship between music and the brain, the dialogue between light and sound and Artificial Intelligence; which for the first time in history makes the leap to the stage with Holly Herndon’s PROTO, Daito Manabe+Kamitani Lab: dissonant imaginary, Ouchhh+Za!: Superstrings, plus Actress+Young Paint Live AI/AV.


The 26th edition of Sónar, which for one year only will take place in the middle of summer, on 18, 19 and 20 July, will present a total of 140 shows on 10 stages across Sónar by Day, at Fira Montjuïc in Barcelona, and Sónar by Night, at Fira Gran Via in L’Hospitalet. In 2020, the festival will return to its usual dates, 18, 19 and 20 JuneSónar 2019 will present 89 concerts and 51 DJ sets of global stars and emerging artists, many of which will be premieres or exclusive shows with an extensive audiovisual component. A total of 12 shows will use the latest technological innovations such as Artificial Intelligence, data visualization or live scientific experimentation.

Bad Bunny – DOWNLOAD
Muqata’a – DOWNLOAD
Body & Soul – DOWNLOAD
Amelie Lens – DOWNLOAD 
Peggy Gou – DOWLOAD
Theo Parris – DOWNLOAD
Daito Manabe – DOWNLOAD 
Holly Herndon – DOWNLOAD 
Kelly Moran Grand Piano AV Live – DOWNLOAD 
Caterina Barbieri – DOWNLOAD
Sho Madjozi – DOWNLOAD
Nicola Cruz – DOWNLOAD
Dellafuente – DOWNLOAD
Virgen Maria – DOWNLOAD 
The main shows of Sónar 2019

Sónar 2019 will feature some of the most important players in hip hop and contemporary urban music such as New York MC and one of the top hip hop stars of the present millennium A$AP Rocky, British MC grime king Skepta, Puerto Rican hip hop and Latin music breaker, Bad Bunny; plus Kaytranada or Vince Staples, relevant names in the new music that brings hip hop closer to electronica.

In dance music, the kings of the British house, Disclosure; the live show of Paul Kalkbrenner‘s new album; the long-awaited emotional session of Four Tet playing in total darkness, with the SonarPub stage solely focused on sound; or Underworld, classics in the history of dance music, presenting their new project “Drift” of expansive and epic techno.

On the fringes of sound and art

This year features many artists working on and from the fringes of sound, politics, gender andgeography. The most futuristic and radical electronic music will come from the hand of Arca, pseudonym of shapeshifting Venezuelan artist, singer, DJ, performer, and experimental music composer Alejandra Ghersi, one of the most relevant electronic figures of our time. With brutal frankness and daring sincerity, her music and performative acts work to destabilise binaries and resist categorisation, instead proposing a third way that incorporates both playfulness and sensitivity. In this special 90 minute presentation conceived exclusively for Sónar, she debuts a new performance mode inspired by cabaret and speculative fiction, which features new material from her long-awaited new album and surprise guests.

The American, Armenian and Syrian artist, K Á R Y Y N, will perfom from her celestial repertoire that unites ancestral Armenian spirits with digital glitches, while Lotic, the Texan producer based in Berlin, will premiere ‘Endless Power‘ from inside a reactive crown of prismatic light created by Emmanuel Biard. DJ and producer Jlin, who has managed to renovate the Chicago footwork and juke scene, will show off her new rhythmic arsenal; other outstanding talents include Palestine’s Muqata’a, Tunisia’s Deena Abdelwahed, introducing the new album ‘Khonnar’, Iranian-born singer Sevdaliza, with a new show, or Ugandan dj and cultural activist Hibotep.

The legacy and the future of clubbing

SonarCar is the circular stage at Sonar by Night that best represents clubbing’s contribution to the history of electronic music. the stage will host the exclusive 6-hour DJ seton Friday night by British producer and musician Floating Points in what will be his only date in Spain this year; and Body & Soul, on Saturday night, the iconic New York collective of spiritual house (with a luxury trio made up of NYC pioneers François Kevorkian, Danny Krivit and Joe Claussell).

The spirit of clubbing is spread across all the stages day and night with names that best define its legacy and future, such as the set of Belgian techno dj Amelie Lens; the special closing of the Germans Dj Koze -with his contemporary house and disco for Friday night-, and Dixon, considered one of the best DJs in the world and leader of the label Innervisions, for Saturday night. In addition, there will be three unprecedented collaborations exclusively for Sónar: Honey Dijon & Louie Vega, Peggy Gou & Palms Trax and Blawan & Dax J.

Sónar by Day features the live shows of the Israelis Red Axes, heavily influenced by their trips to Africa and Vietnam; the dance sets of Ross From Friends, Leon Vynehall and Maya Janes Coles; the new SonarHall show by French label Ed Banger’s SebastiAn; the textured sounds of Daphni, Artwork and Erol Alkan, who will respectively close the three daytime sets at SonarVillage, and the 3-hour set by Detroit legend Theo Parrish at SonarDôme.

Tech shows powered by AI and sensorial staging. 

Faithful to its commitment to technological advances and with the will to connect Sónar’s programming with that of Sónar+D, the festival presents several shows that explore the relationship between music and the brain, the dialogue between light and sound and Artificial Intelligence, thus applying ideas explored in previous years in Sónar+D and which in this edition come to life on stages such as SonarHall and SonarComplex.

These shows include the world premieres of the technologist Daito Manabe together with the neuroscientist Yukiyasu Kamitani, in a pioneering audiovisual show that experiments with the live visualization of the brain states of the artist while he performs his music; and that of the Turkish creative studio Ouchhhwith the Barcelona band Za!, with a show inspired in the theory of super-strings in which the brain waves of the musicians will be screened. Or “PROTO“, Holly Herndon‘s new show that unites a chorus of human voices with the non-human ‘Spawn‘, a sophisticated AImachine for real-time sound generation.

Another light show with a stunning sensorial staging will be Kelly Moran Grand Piano AV Live. The composer and keyboardist from New York, recently signed by Warp Records, will perform her new album “Ultraviolet“, draws its influences from neoclassical to black metal, a sophisticated work with prepared pianosurrounded by synaesthetic projections creating a unique atmosphere.

Another stunning experience will be the immersion in video games of the Barcelona quartet Berlinist, the multidisciplinary digital showMembrane” by Push 1 Stop & Wiklow, the analogical visualization of the sound of Hamill Industries+Shelly, and the originallight, noisy and theatrical show by the ItalianQuiet Ensemble.

At Sónar by Night, the French duo Acid Arab will present a new show featuring a mystical floating light installation, while the UK artist Murlo will bring his extraordinary performance based on projections of his own 3D illustrations on the SonarLab stage presented by Resident Advisor. On the same stage, the AV show of the Italian resident in Berlin, Caterina Barbieri is postulated as one of the most hypnotic and sensorial experiences of this year, introducing us to her own sonic universe from her experiments with modular synthesizers.

New sounds from Africa and Latin America.

The new African sounds stand out this year with South Africa’s Petite Noir, Sho Madjozi, DJ Lag (Durban leading exponent of gqom), and queer duo Faka; Nigeria’s magnetic soulman Obongjayar; Kenya’s emerging producer Slikback; and, from Uganda, DJ, filmmaker, rapper and producer Hibotep.

Global Latin beats and tribal percussions will also be present with performances by the revered Ecuadorian musician Nicola Cruz, the Peruvian duo Dengue Dengue Dengue, members of the Mexican collective of deconstructed club music LAO & Wasted Fates(N.A.A.F.I.), Latin r&b and trap shows by Jesse Baez and ha$lopablito, and sets by La Diabla and Branko, founder of Buraka Som Sistema.

The present and future of the National scene

The diversity and maturity of the national scene will be represented by artists such as Bad Gyal, now definitively on the path to international stardom; referents of the trap and urban music here as Dellafuente, one of the greatest exponents of national rap, Cecilio G or Lil Moss, all of them with a wide range of collaborators.

The always outstanding Desert, previewing some synth pop pearls from their long-awaited new album, accompanied by the visuals of Desilence; the stunning Territoire – whose leader Oliver Arson has won the Goya (the Spanish version of the Oscar) for Best Original Soundtrack this year – with a live performance not suitable for sensitive souls; or the visual dj duo Los Voluble, with their new electronic project of political criticism  and flamencoentitled: “Flamenco is not a crime” created from audiovisual remixes. And there’s much more: Mans O bringing his new triple album to life; the radical sound and aesthetics ofVirgen María; Aleesha‘s urban pop; sessions at Sónar by Night by up and coming sound explorers such as Phran, RRUCCULLA or Tutu; Ylia‘s first live performance in SonarDôme; and three of the country’s most important beatmakers Enry-K, Fake Guido and $kyhook.

New expressions of contemporary classical

The new forms of contemporary classical music will have a starring role: the piano. Instrument and element that unites the performances of Bruce Brubaker & Max Cooper (presenting the show “Glassforms“), Kelly Moran, new rising star of Warp records, and the veteran Hauschka (both specialists in prepared pianos and the teachings of John Cage), and the special concert of “Investigations”, the most recent work by Christian Marclay, which will be performed by ten pianists in La Capella at MACBA on Friday 19th July.

SonarDôme presented by Red Bull

The SonarDôme stage, curated by Red Bull, will feature a total of 22 performances, including several shows co-produced by Red Bull that can be seen for the first time in Spain, such as that of Petite Noir; Lorenzo Senni, a great innovator of tranceand the most extreme sounds of rave music, with his band Stargate; or that of the Iranian avant-garde r&b singer Sevdaliza, presenting her powerful new show“The Great Hope Design”. You can also enjoy the popular and fantastic MC Dellafuente, one of the stars of national urban music, or Detroit dj and producer Theo Parrish, with a special 3-hour set.

Living legends of electronica

As every year, Sónar presents a good number of timeless classics of electronica. With a career of more than 30 years, Underworld is one of the most important duos in the history of dance music. Karl Hyde and Rick Smith will unveil their new expansive and epic techno project “Drift” live. Figures such as Fennesz (presenting “Agora”, one of the best records of his respected career), the Japanese DJ Krush(master of scientific beat and instrumental hip hop) or Matthew Herbert, star of the Sónar 2019 Closing Concert at the Teatre Grec with his new Brexit focused project: The Matthew Herbert Brexit Big Band.

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Ameyaw Kissi Debrah, known professionally as Ameyaw Debrah, is a Ghanaian celebrity blogger, freelance journalist, and reporter.

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