Jorja Smith, Laura Mvula, UB40, Dexys and more to close Commonwealth Games tonight

Fellow West Midlands acts Beverley Knight, Goldie and Jacob Banks are also among those performing in Birmingham

Jorja Smith, Laura Mvula, UB40, Dexys have been announced to perform at the 2022 Commonwealth Games closing ceremony tonight (August 8).

West Midlands acts and other associated figures Beverley Knight, Goldie, Jacob Banks, Ash, Apache Indian, Mahalia, Musical Youth, Neelam Gill, Panjabi MC, Raza Hussain, Talulah-Eve, and The Selecter will appear at the event to round off the multi-sport event that’s been hosted this year by Birmingham.

The acts in question have been selected to “celebrate the diverse musical heritage of the West Midlands, championing the genres and trends that run through this great Commonwealth city; from rave to reggae, street and grime to R&B, drum ‘n’ bass and rap”, according to a press release.

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Masterminded by creative directors Amber Rimell and Bronski from TAWBOX, the ceremony staged at the city’s Alexander Stadium will also feature a sequence from the theatre production Peaky Blinders: The Redemption Of Thomas Shelby. Laura Mvula will perform a freshly commissioned track for the show, which has been inspired by the Blinders‘ theme tune, ‘Red Right Hand’ by Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds.

Laura Mvula onstage during the Hyundai Mercury Music Prize 2021 at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith on September 09, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by JMEnternational/Getty Images)
Laura Mvula onstage during the Hyundai Mercury Music Prize 2021 at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith on September 09, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by JMEnternational/Getty Images)

The Redemption Of Thomas Shelby is written and adapted for the stage by creator Steven Knight, and choreographed and directed by Rambert’s Artistic Director Benoit Swan Pouffer. It receive sits world premiere at Birmingham Hippodrome on September 27 as part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival.

Martin Green CBE, chief creative officer of Birmingham 2022, said: “With this closing ceremony we wanted to create a spectacular line-up of global artists from the West Midlands for an exhilarating musical production to conclude an unforgettable 11 days of sport and culture.

“The medley of high-octane performances will celebrate the vibrant energy and cultural heritage of this incredible city, as we bring these spectacular home Games to a fitting end.”

The Commonwealth Games is held every four years. This year’s closing ceremony in the 2022 host city of Birmingham will also include a formal handover to the state of Victoria, Australia, which is running the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

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The news follows Pa Salieu claiming that he has been dropped from the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony after failing a background check.

The rapper took to Twitter to show footage of him rehearsing for the ceremony before revealing that he was “removed from the show because ‘I failed a background check'”.

Salieu was cleared of engaging in violent disorder during a brawl in 2018 which saw his friend stabbed to death, reports BBC News.

But he was convicted of possessing a bottle as an offensive weapon and had previously admitted a second count of violent disorder relating to an attack on a man shortly after the brawl. His final sentencing was due to be in May.

Pa Salieu
Pa Salieu at Glastonbury 2022 (Picture: Andy Ford for NME)

Speaking about his removal he wrote: “Yesterday (August 1) I received a call to say that I’m being removed from the show because I ‘failed a background check’.

“I can’t keep being silent about this stuff. I’ve already had to cancel 90% of my shows this year because the Home Office won’t process the paperwork I need to travel abroad until my court case is finished.”

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