Sanam Marvi, a titan of Sufi music will among the highlights at this year's Manchester International Festival (MIF).

The 2023 edition of Festival runs from 29 June to 16 July and features a wide-ranging programme of original new work by artists from around the world taking place in venues and spaces throughout the city.

Here are some of the Asian acts, performers and exhibitions at the festival this year.

The full list and programme can be viewed here 

Each Tiny Drop, Thursday 6pm – 10pm
Celebrated Pakistani artist Risham Syed presents Each Tiny Drop (29 June), a special restorative outdoor experience directed by Angie Bual that honours our connection to water - and to one another. Audiences will be invited to collect water specially transported from the Soan River in Pakistan and steward it into the River Medlock in a celebration of the life source we so often take for granted.

The park will be filled with kinetic water-driven sculptures created by Savinder Bual and meditative sounds that draw on ancient South Asian river rituals including songs inspired by the early poetry of Gurū Nānak, performed by Risham Syed herself and a choir of local performers. This free joyful event is to be enjoyed by audiences of all ages.

Sanam Marvi: Saturday 8 July, 8.30pm
Sanam Marvi is a titan of Sufi music, revered throughout Pakistan and beyond. Singing in Urdu, Sindhi, Punjabi and Saraiki, she offers a uniquely beautiful interpretation of Sufi poetry supported by an unbelievable vocal range.

Trained by her father, as well as classical music legends Abida Parveen and Ustaad Fateh Ali Khan, Sanam spent her childhood singing at festivals and shrines across Pakistan. In 2009, a breakout performance on national television turned her into an overnight sensation.  

She’s since toured the globe, uniting millions of fans across cultural borders and generations in their love of Sufi music. A regular on Pakistan’s famed Coke Studio show, Sanam knows no bounds.

Her music has reached Bollywood and earned her recognition from UNESCO and Pakistan’s highest civilian award.

Desi Factory: Saturday 15 July, 7pm
Manchester’s own Sam Malik curates a night of British South Asian talent to mark the closing weekend of MIF23.

Expect R&B-infused tracks with a signal to Bollywood from headliner Zack Knight. Known for his infectious songs and slick productions, Zack has written for Tinie Tempah, opened shows for Taio Cruz and Jessie J, and is a star in his own right – selling out a UK headline tour and writing and producing the huge international hit Bom Diggy.

Support comes from melodic singer-songwriter Ezu, BBC Asian Network’s legendary DJ Bobby Friction and Bambi Bains – a trailblazer in the UK’s Desi R&B and Bhangra scene, as well as Joash, Kami Kane, Luqy and Freezy, all hosted by Nikita Kanda.

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Desi Factory is curated by Sam Malik, a pioneer of the city’s creative scene determined to shine a light on next gen talent, as well as the best of British South Asian music. A member of the Factory Sounds 2022 cohort – our artist development programme for Manchester’s music visionaries – Sam is making waves across the city with new music agency SM Music MGMT. 

Artistic Director and Chief Executive, Factory International & Manchester International Festival John McGrath said: “From the radical and agenda setting to the purest of celebrations, MIF23’s programme covers a huge range of art forms and styles - from a ritual on the banks of a newly uncovered river, to mixed reality from one of Japan’s greatest composers, from a hunt for artworks across the city to a residency from one of American music’s most vibrant superstars. 

"A genuine melting pot of creativity where artists share their ideas with each other and the public, the Festival will once again take the temperature of our times, and imagine possibilities for the future.

"As always MIF is rooted in its home - in the spaces and places of Greater Manchester. So at the same time as we take up residency in our flagship new venue with our centrepiece exhibition of Yayoi Kusama’s incredible inflatable sculptures, the Festival will extend its reach throughout the city: finding unexpected locations to show its work in, and working with local artists and residents to perform and take part. MIF23 will be a true celebration of the city and its cultural offerings.”

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Councillor Luthfur Rahman OBE, Deputy Leader Manchester City Council, says: "We take culture very seriously here in Manchester. It plays a big part in our global reputation and economic success, making Manchester a city that people and businesses the world over want to visit, work, live, and invest in. 

"The Festival is a real celebration of that – showcasing the fantastic venues and spaces around the city, drawing national and global audiences, and creating opportunities for local people to get involved, through jobs, volunteering and the chance to perform and participate in shows.

"Being able to invite audiences to experience our brand-new building for the first time as part of this year's brilliant Manchester International Festival, as well as a programme of events right across the city, is very exciting and should not be missed. This new chapter takes our cultural ambitions to the next level and then some.

"Putting a world-class building on our doorstep that brings with it a wealth of jobs, training, and opportunities that further cement our place as an international centre and incubator for culture, creativity and innovation.

"The eyes of the world are once again on Manchester, the festival, and this new space - and they will not be disappointed."

Sarah Maxfield, Area Director, North, Arts Council England. said: “I’m excited to see this year’s Manchester International Festival programme. Not only is the city welcoming back its internationally renowned festival but also presenting work for the first time in Factory International’s venue and new public spaces. 

"This is a huge moment for both Manchester and the wider Northern cultural scene. I can’t wait to see the city buzzing with people experiencing world class arts and culture by artists from here at home and from around the world. This is going to be one exciting summer for Manchester!”

The full list and programme can be viewed here