David Byrne's high-concept Contemporary Colors shows, which pair pop musicians with high school marching band color guard troupes, are coming up, happening June 22 & 23 in Toronto (tickets) and June 27 & 28 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (tickets).
More details have been announced since we posted, including the composer and team pairings which are as follows:
David Byrne and Les Eclipses
Nelly Furtado and Ventures
How To Dress Well and Mechanicsburg High School
Devonté Hynes and Black Watch
Kelis and Brigadiers
Lucius and Shenendehowa High School
Money Mark + Ad-Rock and Somerville High School
Nico Muhly + Ira Glass and Alter Ego
St. Vincent and Field of View
tUnE-yArDs and Emanon
BAM and Barclays Center present Contemporary Color, a performance event created by music icon David Byrne, co-commissioned by BAM and Toronto's Luminato Festival, and inspired by the high school phenomenon of color guard, known as "the sport of the arts."
Ten 20-40 person color guard teams from the US and Canada will perform at Brooklyn's Barclays Center and Toronto's Air Canada Centre, alongside an extraordinary array of musical talent performing live. Artist and team parings can be found below. Contemporary Color is the artistic culmination of Byrne's interest in color guard as a piece of Americana and a competitive art form.
When Byrne agreed to lend a composition to a high school performance team back in 2008, he knew little about the color guard phenomenon, which is wildly popular in high schools across the North American continent. Modern color guard has evolved out of military tradition, stepping outside of the marching band to become an independent competitive sport known as one of the "marching arts." Color guard can be found in most American high schools, colleges, and universities, and uses props like flags, rifles, and sabers, along with movement and dynamic music, to express a conceptual motif.
At the time, Byrne's only request was to see for himself how his music was used. Upon viewing an electrifying DVD of the Winter Guard International's World Championship, the creative seed for Contemporary Color was planted. "I was stunned at what I was seeing," Byrne recalls, "and being a musician I naturally wondered to myself: what if these performances had really great live music? Wouldn't that lift it to another level?"
With the support of BAM and Luminato Festival, Byrne began reaching out to some of his favorite artists-as well as an array of northeast regional color guard teams-and the epic, arena-scale artistry of Contemporary Color began to take shape. Byrne's directive to artists as diverse as Devonté Hynes and Nelly Furtado is to work alongside the creative heads of each team to produce a mind-blowing meld of original music and routine, promising New York and Toronto audiences "the biggest glitter cannon show of your life."
The engagement marks BAM's first production partnership with Barclays Center. Located just two blocks from each other, BAM and Barclays Center anchor one of the most vibrant and unique cultural districts in the US.
"Contemporary Color is a perfect example of the kind of artistic partnership that has emerged out of the Brooklyn cultural district, enabling us to deliver extraordinary programming to our audiences in a way that would not have been possible even several years ago," notes BAM Executive Producer Joseph V. Melillo.
Barclays Center owner Bruce Ratner adds: "Our goal when we opened Barclays Center was not only to bring world class sports and entertainment to Brooklyn, but to differentiate the building by tapping into BAM's expertise in the global arts scene," Barclays Center majority owner Bruce Ratner said. "We are delighted to join with BAM in bringing such an artistically driven event to Barclays Center and to continue to build on Brooklyn's dynamic cultural offerings."