David Byrne has announced a series of concerts where an all-star roster of 10 artists will be accompanied onstage by 10 high school colorguard teams from around the country in an event dubbed Contemporary Color. Tune-Yards, St. Vincent, Kelis, Nelly Furtado and Byrne himself are among the performers who will join the colorguards at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and Toronto’s Air Canada Centre this coming June.
Baffled by the concept? Here’s Byrne hijacking a high school newscast to explain what Contemporary Color is all about:
In a statement, Byrne explains how he became immersed in the rah-rah world of colorguard. “Some years ago, a colorguard team wanted to use some music I’d written… for one of their routines. I said, ‘Fine, no charge… you are a high school team after all.’ But I asked that they send me documentation out of curiosity and for my archives,” Byrne writes. “I eventually got a DVD of the whole World Championship competition. I watched, and was amazed and delighted to find myself in a new world that I didn’t know existed.”
Byrne adds that he gravitated toward what’s referred to as “winterguard,” a more vibrant, freeform version of the artform that isn’t tied to rooting on high school football teams in the fall. After brainstorming the idea of Contemporary Color, the former Talking Heads frontman approached the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Luminato Festival with his idea.
“Ten colorguard teams paired with 10 musical artists. Somewhat surprisingly, they said yes! This is sort of a crazy idea,” Byrne said. “We’re all slightly out of our comfort zone, but very excited — it’s an idea that seems natural and obvious too, so why not!?”
Rounding out the Contemporary Color cast are Nico Muhly with Ira Glass, How to Dress Well, Blood Orange’s Devonté Hynes, with a few more artists to be announced. Tickets for the Brooklyn performances are on sale now at Ticketmaster, while the Toronto shows will go on sale Friday.
June 22 & 23 – Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre (Luminato Festival)
June 27 & 28 – Brooklyn, NY @ Barclays Center (BAM 2015 Winter/Spring Season)