LYR and Manchester-raised singer-songwriter Josephine Oniyama will open this year’s Festival of Libraries at Manchester’s Central Library.

They will perform The Enlightenment, a new track commissioned for the festival on at the opening event on 12 June.  The track features words from Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, music from Richard Walters and Patrick Pearson and guest vocals from Josephine Oniyama.  This will mark the first time the track has been performed live.

The Enlightenment will be released on streaming platforms on 7 June ahead of its live debut.

LYR was formed in 2018 and is made up of Simon Armitage, singer-songwriter Richard Walters and multi-instrumentalist and producer Patrick Pearson.  For The Enlightenment, and for their Festival of Libraries performance, they will be joined by singer-songwriter Josephine Oniyama.

Speaking about the impact of libraries and literature on her music, Josephine Oniyama said, “Reading and libraries have always been a central part of my life and career.  Narrative and prose have deeply informed my music making.  This project has allowed me to work with some really talented musicians and writers and bring to life the power of knowledge and the importance of libraries as places for everyone to enjoy that knowledge.”

image of Josephine Oniyama

Josephine Oniyama will open Manchester’s Festival of Libraries with LYR

The performance will open the Festival of Libraries, celebrating the libraries which have made Manchester a UNESCO City of Literature.  The Festival spans the ten boroughs of Greater Manchester and its 133 libraries with a programme featuring workshops, performances, author talks, installations, discussions and more.

Tickets for LYR and Josephine Oniyama opening the Festival of Libraries 2024 are £12, or £4 unwaged, and can be booked via the Manchester City of Literature website.

Image of LYR courtesy Katie Silvester