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CubaDupa's First Lineup of Performers, Artists and Ensembles in March Has Been Unveiled

Expect modern soul magicians, genre-bending storytellers, giant orchestras, art installations and more.
By Sarah Templeton
January 26, 2023
By Sarah Templeton
January 26, 2023

The first lineup for CubaDupa is here, giving Wellingtonians a taste of the art, music and more set to light up the capital's central precinct at the end of summer.

It was announced late last year the annual arts festival was returning in March 2023, after the 2022 festival had to be canned amid snap lockdowns and COVID uncertainty.

Now the first set of performances, installations, roaming dance and music ensembles, extraordinary cultural experiences and delicious culinary offerings announced has dropped — and it's a doozy. On the roster: an eclectic mix of local and intestinal talent, including singer/songwriter Anthonie Tonnon, modern soul magician (who knew?) Mara TK, surf-psych-rock quartet Koizilla, Japanese-American multi-instrumentalist Rachel Andie, tāonga puoro genre-bending storytellers Aro and alt-pop artist Theia. Ensembles include Sam Manzanza's huge 15-piece mass Cuba Street Afrobeat band and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Oliver Crawford

A piece that's bound to be a must-see is the specially commissioned music installation Te Hou Nui, led by Riki Gooch, featuring more than 100 musicians from all backgrounds in a call-and-response piece, featuring a Māori legend-inspired set of smoke signals.

When strolling the streets you might come across dance numbers from Wellington Ballroom, Pasifika Street and Shifting Centre, a Bollywood-fusion parade presented by Shivam Dance Academy, stunts from aerial suspension carnival queen Lizzie Tollemache and circus theatre from The Dust Palace.

And of course, there are all the classic yet-to-be-announced acts taking over 28 stages around the central Cuba Street precinct, including the surrounding laneways. Guaranteed to appear will be street vendors hawking delicious eats to keep you fuelled and more than one parade — get a spot on one of the surrounding rooftop bars for the best view.

Whatever takes your fancy, it's guaranteed to be good vibes only — so put those dates in your diary now.

CubaDupa will take place on Cuba Street and its surrounding precinct from Saturday, March 25 to Sunday, March 26 2023.

Published on January 26, 2023 by Sarah Templeton
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