Jazz titan Herbie Hancock is one of the stars of the Edinburgh International Festival, which takes place from August 5-28 in the event’s 75th anniversary year. Other performers include the Mercury Prize-shortlisted Kae Tempest, electronic producer Squarepusher, rock duo Arab Strap, and Grammy-winning Sufi poet and musician Arooj Aftab.
As ever, the musical menu for the EIF offers a rich mixture of styles, from jazz via electronic dance to hip-hop and indie rock, presented by artists both locally based in Scotland and from around the world. Hancock, the 14-time Grammy winner whose solo recording career now spans 60 years and 41 studio albums, will be making his first visit to Scotland as an artist for some 17 years. Fresh from his June 26 appearance at Glastonbury Festival, he will make his EIF debut on August 7 at Edinburgh Playhouse, where tickets cost between £59 and £69.
The Cinematic Orchestra follow sellout shows at the Royal Albert Hall and Sydney Opera House with their first live performance of the year at Leith Theatre on August 26. Arab Strap will be at the same venue a week earlier, on the 19th, to play music from last year’s As Days Get Dark, their first album for 16 years, as well as older material. Squarepusher, meanwhile, marks the 25th anniversary of his debut album, Feed Me Weird Things, at the Leith on August 13. Again at the same location, much acclaimed Kae Tempest performs on the 20th and fellow Mercury nominees, London jazz quartet Sons of Kemet (led by saxophonist/clarinetist Shabaka Hutchings), are there on August 14 for their final UK show before their announced split.
Also in the programme are Irish collective Martin Hayes & The Common Ground Ensemble, and Swedish mezzo soprano Anne Sofie von Otter. A stirring evening is also guaranteed at Usher Hall on August 6, with a free concert by the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra. Edinburgh is twinned with the city of Kyiv and this special collaboration between the EIF and the Scottish Government is in aid of the city’s Ukrainian community and those directly affected by the war. Read about the full EIF music programme here.