unnamedSunday 1 – Sunday 8 March 2015


  • Ibibio Sound Machine join tUnE-yArDs to headline WOW festival in Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall
  • DJs Melody Kane, Dellessa James, Kaylee Kay to provide late sets
  • All female Nu Civilisation Orchestra to debut the world premiere of a Yazz Ahmed work inspired by influential women
  • Free gigs from Lady Leshurr, Abi Wade, Bumi Thomas and pop-up choirs throughout the festival
  • Mirth Control to return with unique blend of music and comedy, hosted by Sandi Toksvig

WOW – Women of the WorldSouthbank Centre’s annual festival to present, recognise and celebrate women, returns for a fifth year in 2015 supported by Bloomberg. Marking International Women’s Day on Sunday 8 March, the festival includes a programme of gigs and musical performances created and performed by women.

WOW gigs include the American electro-pop maverick tUnE-yArDs, alongside futuristic afro-funk group Ibibio Sound Machine in Royal Festival Hall on 5 March. Following the show, DJ sets will be provided by Melody KaneDellessa James and Kaylee Kay. The subsequent day’s musical entertainment will include multi-instrumentalist Abi Wade and Birmingham rapper/singer Lady Leshurrperforming free gigs. Bunmi Thomas will also bring her blend of roots, jazz and soul to the festival in a free show on Saturday 7 March.

Also playing the festival are an all-female variation of the The Nu Civilisation Orchestra, who will premiere a brand new work by British-Bahrani composer and trumpeter Yazz Ahmed. The piece will be a suite of six movements inspired by the courage, strength and determination of six influential female role models – Haifaa al-Mansour, Ruby Bridges, Malala Yousafzai, Rosa Parks, The Suffragettes and Barbara Thompson. The work was commissioned by Tomorrow’s Warriors, an organisation with a special focus on diversity that supports young musicians in the UK. The orchestra itself is the brainchild of Gary Crosby OBE and is a contemporary jazz ensemble that plays a mixture of enduring classics and new works.

Festival headliner tUnE-yArDs, aka Merrill Garbus, forged a reputation as a formidable live presence through relentless touring and in 2011 released a breakout album, w h o k i l l . After then travelling to Haiti and studying Haitian drumming she spent an extensive amount of time in the studio and created 30 demo albums before choosing the best tracks for her latest hit album Nikki Nack. tUnE-yArDs’ support Ibibio Sound Machine is fronted by London-born Nigerian singer Eno Williams and the band play a mix of African and electronic sounds inspired by the golden era of West-African funk and modern post-punk and electro.

Throughout the festival all female choirs will pop-up across the site, such as NME rated vocal innovators GaggleDeep Throat Choir singing Motown classics, gospel group The Reapers Choir,child-friendly choir Pram Chorus, a cappella duo Porter and pop music protagonists Lips, singing everything from folk songs to dubstep.

WOW flagship event, Mirth Control will fuse comedy and music in one exhilarating night hosted by Sandi Toksvig and starring Sarah Millican, Sharon D. Clarke, soprano Angel Blue, Southbank Centre’s vocal initiative Voicelab and an all-female orchestra conducted by Sian Edwards and Alice Farnham.

Full event details of gigs at Southbank Centre’s WOW – Women of the World Festival 2015 are listed below.

For further press information and images please contact:
Hugo Mintz on 020 7921 0917 / hugo.mintz@southbankcentre.co.uk
Katie Toms on 020 7921 0926 / katie.toms@southbankcentre.co.uk

Ticket booking:
0844 847 9910
Southbank Centre’s WOW – Women of the World Festival 2015 is sponsored by Bloomberg.

Thursday 5 March, 7.30pm, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £22.50, £20, £17.50
The celebrated indie-pop band tUnE-yArDs will bring its live experience to Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall on the back of a new album Nikki Nack. Headed up by Merrill Garbus, the band is known for its explosive performance style and brilliantly eccentric song writing. Support will come from a London group with West African roots – Ibibio Sound Machine. Fronted by London-born Nigerian singer Eno Williams, the group are a clash of African and electronic elements inspired in equal measure by the golden era of West-African funk and modern post-punk and electro. Their self-titled album has been making waves and is featured in numerous 2014 album-of-the-year reviews.

Thursday 5 March, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall Foyer, FREE
Turntable technicians Melody Kane, Dellessa James and Kaylee Kay will host an after party in the foyer of Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall.

Friday 6 March, 12.30pm, Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer & 2.15pm Level 3 Balcony at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, FREE
Pram Chorus is a child-friendly choir for parents based in Balham, south London. Founded by Ruth Routledge, a choir director, singer and mum, it is an activity for parents, but where their little ones, in all their noisy glory are also welcome. Pram Chorus has gone from strength to strength with members finding the singing and the community of local mums the perfect antidote to the stresses and difficulties of recovering from birth and being a mum, as well as a fun and creative way to use their brains and build their confidence.

Friday 6 March, 1pm, Central Bar at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, FREE
Brighton-based Abi Wade’s music combines percussion, strings and vocals. The cello is the backbone to her songs, her technique is to hit the instrument with sticks and beaters while plucking and bowing it, bringing together beats and melodies to create a distinctive sound. She has toured Europe with Patrick Wolf, performed at festivals such as End of The Road and Wilderness, played shows with the likes of CocoRosie, Dan Mangan and Michael Kiwanuka, produced a sell-out debut EP and released music on the label set up by Esben & The Witch’s Daniel Copeman, with whom she also records.

Friday 6 March, 6pm, Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer, FREE
Birmingham born Lady Leshurr is a female MC/singer and producer with a reputation for melodic singing and fierce lyrics.

Saturday 7 March, 1-1.30pm, Level 5 Foyer at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall and 11-11.30am Riverside Terrace at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, FREE
Gaggle started life as an all-female choir who were flagged as one of the Top 50 Innovators in music by NME within six months of their inception. Since then they have performed at almost every major UK festival, opened the main stage at Transmusicale, reworked a forgotten Women’s Institute opera at the ICA and Royal Albert Hall and performed their reimagined Lysistrata at Southbank Centre’s WOW – Women of the World Festival 2014. Their music was also featured as part of the 2012 Olympic celebrations.

Saturday 7 March, 3-3.30pm, Riverside Terrace at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, 4.30-5pm, Level 5 Foyer at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, FREE
Deep Throat are a choral crew of London women who use just voices and drums to perform hypnotic versions of everything from Motown to indie classics.

Saturday 7 March, 6.30-7.30pm, Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer, FREE
Jazz, folk and soul singer Bumi Thomas brings her evocative voice and Neo-Blues inspired sounds to a free show during WOW. Her influences are wide ranging and include Bjork, Yinka Shonibare, Miles Davis, Nina Simone and Sade Adu.

Sunday 8 March, 2-2.30pm & 3.30-4pm, Cafe at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, FREE
Porter is a female a cappella duo from London whose love for arranging and performing music has brought them together. With a captivating sound the women perform their unique take on well known songs that create a new memory or special moment for their audience.

Sunday 8 March, 11-11:30am, Riverside Terrace at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall and 4.30-5pm, Level 5 Foyer at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, FREE
London’s favourite women’s pop choir Lips has been performing to sell-out audiences at iconic UK venues since 2009. Lips’ influences come from far and wide, and they are known to weave dubstep into an eastern European folk song, belt out a medley of rock anthems, or give their original take on classics from the likes of Fleetwood Mac and Tina Turner. Together, Lips make a nuanced and upbeat wall of sound, channelling the skills of its many multi-talented members and two musical directors.

Sunday 8 March, 4-5.00pm, Riverside Terrace at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall and 6.45pm at the Central Bar at SouthbankCentre’s Royal Festival Hall, FREE
The Reapers Choir is a church choir from Christ Apostolic Church (Bethel) UK, comprising female singers directed by Anu Omideyi. The choir has performed at many venues nationwide from the Hackney Empire to Kensington Palace and perform at The Royal Albert Hall in March. The Reapers Choir was a finalist in the BBC Gospel Choir of the Year 2014 competition which featured its first single Stand Still (Remix).

Sunday 8 March, 7.30pm, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £40, £30, £20, £15
Now a flagship event of WOW Festival, Mirth Control is an electrifying night of comedy and music inspired by great women. Hosted by Sandi Toksvig and directed by Paulette Randall, this year’s line-up of stars includes Sarah Millican, Sharon D. Clarke, soprano Angel Blue, cellist Ayanna Witter Johson, pop choir Lips, Southbank Centre’s vocal initiative Voicelab and the all-female WOW Orchestra conducted by Sian Edwards and Alice Farnham.

Sunday 8 March, 7.45pm, Southbank Centre’s Purcell Room, £15, WORLD PREMIERE
An all-female variation of Tomorrow’s Warriors’ Nu Civilisation Orchestra will premiere a new work by British-Bahrani composer and trumpeter Yazz Ahmed. The work is a suite of six pieces inspired by the courage, strength and determination of six influential female role models; Haifaa al-Mansour, the first female Saudi filmmaker, whose debut Wadjda (2012) examined the challenges and societal pressures facing girls and women in one of the world’s most restrictive countries; Ruby Bridges, who at just six years old was the first African-American child to desegregate an all-white elementary school in the south of America; Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban for fighting for her right to go to school and recently became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize; Rosa Parks, the African-American civil rights activist whose refusal to give up her bus seat for a white passenger helped bring an end to segregation; and The Suffragettes, the British women who fought for the vote.

Tomorrow’s Warriors champions, nurtures and promotes the most diverse collective of gifted and talented jazz musicians in the UK, with a special focus on females and young musicians from the African Diaspora. The organisation was established in 1991 to increase the number and representation of black and/or female musicians and composers in the mainstream of professional music in the UK.

Commissioned by Tomorrow’s Warriors, with funding from PRS for Music Foundation: Women Make Music.

Notes to Editors:

Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, occupying a 21-acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Southbank Centre is home to the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and the Hayward Gallery as well as The Saison Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection. The Royal Festival Hall reopened in June 2007 following the major refurbishment of the Hall and redevelopment of the surrounding area and facilities.

Jude Kelly CBE was appointed Artistic Director of Southbank Centre, Britain’s largest cultural institution, in 2006. She founded Solent People’s Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre, and was the founding director of the West Yorkshire Playhouse.  In 1997, she was awarded an OBE for her services to theatre, and in 2015 she was made a CBE in the New Year honours for services to the Arts. She has directed over 100 productions from the Royal Shakespeare Company to the Châtalet in Paris. In 2002 Jude founded Metal, which provides a platform where artistic hunches can be pursued in community contexts, with bases in Liverpool, Southend-On-Sea and Peterborough. Jude is a member of the London Cultural Strategy Group, and was part of the Cultural Olympiad which was responsible for the ongoing framework for delivering the creative, cultural and educational aspects of London’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012. She created the WOW – Women of the World Festival in 2011, and it is now in its 5th year at Southbank Centre as well as taking place in other parts of the UK and in other countries all over the world.

Southbank Centre’s WOW – Women of the World Festival celebrates its fifth year in 2015 (1-8 March) and returns to champion the incredible achievements of women and girls and explore the most potent topics for women today. WOW 2015 will again feature voices from around the world and shine the spotlight on a broad and diverse spectrum of topical women’s subjects through its ground-breaking mix of talks and debates, keynotes, concerts, performances, film, comedy, workshops, WOW bites, how-tos, speed mentoring and networking opportunities. Since it launched in 2011, WOW has gone global, with recent and forthcoming WOWs across the world including WOW Harlem New York, WOW Brisbane Australia, WOW Alexandria Egypt and WOW Derry-Londonderry Northern Ireland.

Bloomberg, the global business and financial information and news leader, gives influential decision makers a critical edge by connecting them to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas. The company’s strength—delivering data, news and analytics through innovative technology, quickly and accurately—is at the core of the Bloomberg Professional service, which provides real time financial information to more than 300,000 subscribers globally. Through our philanthropy programme, we help charities and non-profit organisations around the world with education and literacy programmes, health and medical research, social work, arts and culture, public parks and the environment. Bloomberg’s support of WOW – Women of the World builds on a long history of support across Southbank Centre that has encompassed a wide range of arts exhibition, public commissions and literature programmes. www.bloomberg.com