Duran Duran to headline Birmingham 2022 opening ceremony

Iqbal Khan, Artistic Director of the Opening Ceremonyfor the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games has unveiled the music line-up that will provide the soundtrack for his ceremony.

Returning to the city where their four-decade career began, global hitmakers Duran Duran will be the finale to the Ceremony’s stunning musical offer, featuring some of the city’s most celebrated artists and promoting its emerging talent on a global stage, from Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi to vocalists Indigo Marshall and Gambini, under the musical direction of rapper, artist and educator Joshua ‘RTKal’ Holness.

Birmingham’s Opening and Closing ceremonies will be staged at the newly-redeveloped Alexander Stadium in front of a live audience of over 30,000 people and a television audience of over a billion.

With the best of Birmingham’s creative minds at its helm, and its best-loved talent at its heart, this ceremony will be a major moment for the region with the world watching, brought to life by the sounds of this vibrant city.

Birmingham’s multi-Grammy winning Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath) and acclaimed saxophonist Soweto Kinch will lead a dream sequence, Hear My Voice, based on the title track from 2020 film Trial of the Chicago Seven, reimagined here by Birmingham-born RnB vocalistsIndigo Marshall and Gambimi - both making waves on the regional and national scene, with Marshall’s debut EP, ‘The Fall’, ranking as Amazon’s number 1 R&B Best Seller.

Birmingham Conservatoire graduate and mezzo-soprano, Samantha Oxborough will take the prestigious role of performing the National Anthem for the United Kingdom as part of the formal opening of the Games, supported by the celebrated City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under acclaimed conductor Alpesh Chauhan, while musicians from The Royal Marinesdeliver a rousing trumpet fanfare.

A massed choir of over 700 voices, comprised of 15 choirs from across the West Midlands will flood the arena, led by Carol Pemberton and Black Voices, one of Europe’s leading female a cappella groups.

Meanwhile, musicians from across the region, representing global musical styles, provide the bed for major theatrical moments throughout the production, including a Call to Gather sequence for the whole Commonwealth, featuring two-time, Grammy-award winning percussionist Lekan Babalola, vocalist Ranjana Ghatak, shawm player Jude Rees, bagpiper Chris Crouch and Djembe player Abraham Paddy Tetteh, with Birmingham-wide Dohl drummers providing a percussive backdrop to stunning visual moments.

These rich musical threads, will set the stage for iconic British band, Duran Duran to draw the Opening Ceremony to a close, performing four much-loved tracks from their remarkable back catalogue. Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon said:

“The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is a momentous event for the great city of Birmingham. And we in Duran Duran are honoured to be a part of it in our home town.”

With ceremonial traditions including the athletes’ parade and stunning firework finale, the Opening Ceremony will open the Games with spectacle and emotion.

The Closing Ceremony line up will be announced in the coming weeks. Set to be the party of the year – it will feature a host of West Midlands music talent past, present and future.

These events are two of the flagship moments for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Artistic Director and acclaimed theatre producer, Iqbal Khan, said:

“It’s been an unbelievable honour to guide the artistic direction for the Opening Ceremony. Since setting out on this journey, I wanted to tell Birmingham’s story and I wanted to tell it right – to show that there is a vivid and vibrant confidence about this place, in this moment.

“It’s the music of this city that truly gives it its voice, and this stunning line-up will connect with a global audience, as we celebrate the best of Birmingham creativity on an international stage.”

Led by Martin Green CBE, the Creative Team behind the Ceremony is comprised of some of the finest world-class talent who’ve delivered major global events and have come together to present this landmark production which will challenge and excite audiences at home and worldwide.

As is customary, the Opening Ceremony will see the formal declaration of the start of the Games, marking the beginning of 11 days of sport, with 19 events over 16 venues. 

Running from 28 July to 8 August, these Games are set to break records before a medal is even won, delivering the biggest ever para sport programme and featuring more women’s medals than men’s for the first time ever.

Further details about the Opening Ceremony will be announced in the coming weeks, with details on the Closing Ceremony to be released at a later date.

There is limited availability for tickets for both Ceremonies, and tickets remain across the sporting programme at birmingham2022.com.


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