Acts on Poetry 2019

Surprising musicians and performances

Along with extraordinary poets and poetry, this 50th Poetry International Festival presents unexpected acts in the field of music and dance. The eighteen times Grammy-nominated Metropole Orkest will set the festival in motion with a loud kettledrum stroke. They will engage in unique duets with some of the performing poets as well as with The Last Poets, the godfathers of hiphop and spoken word during the opening show ‘What Happened to the Future?’

The Last Poets, Metropole Orkest, Mario Batkovic, De Likt, A-WA ...

Metropole Orkest [Nederland]

13 June, opening show

Metropole Orkest [The Netherlands]

Eighteen times Grammy-nominated Metropole Orkest (MO) has expanded the meaning of the word “orchestra” – if the term makes you think “classical music”, you’re on the wrong track as far as the Metropole Orkest is concerned. What they do play: pop, soul, funk, cabaret, musicals, movie scores, and world music, from the present day and further back. Over the past 74 years, the MO has collaborated with a host of big names from the music world, including Ella Fitzgerald, Brian Eno, Gregory Porter, Bono, and Snarky Puppy. Headed up by young British chief conductor Jules Buckley, the MO is the last complete hybrid orchestra in the world.


The Last Poets [VS]

13 June, opening show

The Last Poets [USA]

As pioneers of the spoken-word genre and precursors of American hiphop, the Last Poets have been a major influence and source of inspiration for writers, rappers and musicians for half a century. The group was formed in 1968, arising out of the civil rights movement, and released their first album in 1970. Since then, the Last Poets – in changing constellations of band members – have continued to produce music and poetry that is always topical and politically provocative. Last year, twenty years after their last album, they – founding members Abiodun Oyewole and Umar Bin Hassan and drummer Baba Donn Babatunde – released Understand What Black Is, a strongly reggae-influenced record that ties into the Black Lives Matter movement. Of course these spoken-word giants had to feature on the Poetry International programme on the occasion of the festival’s 50-year anniversary.

Mario Batkovic [Zwitserland]

14 June, 19:00 hrs

Mario Batkovic [Switzerland]

The Swiss musician Mario Batkovic managed to single-handedly take accordion music to a higher level. His classical, minimalist compositions are very cinematic – with just the accordion and no use of special effects, he manages time and again to create a story. Sometimes slow and ominous, sometimes frenzied – he explores the instrument’s full range of possibilities. Batkovic also composes music for movies and games, and his 2017 debut solo album was lauded as one of the best avant-garde albums to come out that year.

Have a look at Mario Batkovic performing at Into The Great Wide Open Festival 2017 (VPRO). 

De Likt [Nederland]

14 June, 20:30 hrs

De Likt [The Netherlands]

The unique sound of De Likt exists of the futuristic funk of Giorgi Kuiper and John van Beek, and razor-sharp lyrics of front man Jordy Dijkshoorn. Although De Likt is a Rotterdam band through and through, their sound, combined with Jordy’s out-there appearance and boundless on-stage energy, brings down the house all over the country. The band will be playing an exclusive, one-time-only show at Poetry International, inspired by the texts of their role model and fellow Rotterdam icon, Jules Deelder.

Eduardo Guerrero & Antonio Lizana [Spanje]

15 June, 17:00 hrs

Eduardo Guerrero & Antonio Lizana [Spain]

Earlier this year, the Spanish dancer Eduardo Guerrero was described by Volkskrant newspaper as an “up-and-coming flamenco god”. He is one of the big names in the international dance scene. Guerrero mixes traditional flamenco with his own modern dance inventions. At Poetry International, his dance performance will be accompanied by saxophonist, singer and composer Antonio Lizana, who combines modern jazz harmonies with flamenco in his own saxophone improvisations. Together Guerrero and Lizana are sure to create a spectacular show. 

Charlotte Adigéry [België]

15 June, 19:30 hrs

Charlotte Adigéry [Belgium]

Last year, the Belgian magazine Humo called the Belgian-Caribbean musician Charlotte Adigéry a “rising superstar”. Her music is sometimes described as minimalist electro-pop. Early this year, she released her first solo EP, Zandoli, on which she engages with both the past and the future. The Creole opening track Paténipat, for example, contains references to Caribbean gwo-ka dance, which was created during the slavery era. The best-known single on her EP, High Lights, meanwhile, is an ode to the synthetic weave. Writing this track encouraged Adigéry to delve deeper into exploring her identity as a black Caribbean woman. The multilingual EP – with lyrics in French, English and Creole – was the result of this process.

A-WA [Israël]

16 June, 16:00 hrs

A-WA [Israel]

The three Israeli sisters Tair, Liron and Tagel Haim together form A-WA, a band with unprecedented popularity in the Arab world. They took the musical scene by storm with their electronic music mixed with hiphop beats and pop and folk melodies, with vocals in the Yemeni Arab dialect. Their track Habib Galbi, an adaptation of a Yemeni folk song, became a global hit, and the music video went viral. Their long-awaited second album comes out this spring. They will be playing a special acoustic set at Poetry International that you won’t want to miss.

Bruno Ferro Xavier da Silva [Nederland]

16 June, 17:30 hrs

Bruno Ferro Xavier da Silva [The Netherlands]

Bass player Bruno Ferro Xavier da Silva was born in Lisbon, has a Cape Verdean mother and an Angolan father and grew up in Rotterdam. In da Silva’s hands, the bass guitar has no limitations – he plays his instrument, whether melodically, rhythmically or experimentally, with the same ease, and his daring and frequent use of effects enables him to create the most amazing sounds. He performs as a solo musician but is also half of the two-man band Stöma. In addition, he is an illustrator and visual artist, both in his own right and as part of the Kamphorst artist collective. 


The 50th Poetry International Festival will kick-off on 13 June in the Main Auditorium of de Doelen. On 14, 15 and 16 June most events will take place in or around the Jurriaanse zaal. De Doelen is situated within walking distance of Rotterdam Central Station

Entrance Main Auditorium – Schouwburgplein 50, Rotterdam
Entrance Jurriaanse zaal – Kruisplein 30, Rotterdam


Nederlands Letterenfonds
Gemeente Rotterdam
Droom en Daad
Lira Fonds
Stichting Dioraphte
Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds
Rotterdam Festivals

Ludo Pieters Gastschrijversfonds   /   Volkskracht   /   Erasmusstichting   /   G. Ph. Verhagen-Stichting   /   Maatschappij tot Nut van't Algemeen   /   Stichting verzameling van Wijngaarden-Boot   /   We Jansenfonds