David Byrne

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Byrne
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Biography (Excerpt)

The cast album for the critically acclaimed Broadway production of David Byrne’s American Utopia includes songs from his 2018 album, American Utopia, along with music from Talking Heads and Byrne’s solo career. Byrne shares the spotlight with a diverse ensemble of eleven musical artists from around the globe for an event that delivers "an experience unlike anything else," says Billboard. It's "a marvel of humanity and hope," says the Boston Globe.

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David Byrne & Fatboy Slim’s acclaimed 2010 album Here Lies Love receives its first vinyl release on August 11, 2023, to coincide with the new musical’s Broadway debut, in a production opening tonight, July 20, at the Broadway Theatre in New York City. Here Lies Love is a double-disc song cycle about the rise and fall of the Philippines’ notorious Imelda Marcos and the People Power Revolution. The album was conceived by David Byrne; composed by Byrne and DJ/recording artist Fatboy Slim, AKA Norman Cook; and performed by a dream cast drawn from the worlds of indie rock, alt country, R&B, and pop, including Florence Welch, Cyndi Lauper, Steve Earle, Sharon Jones, Natalie Merchant, Tori Amos, Kate Pierson, St. Vincent, My Brightest Diamond, Nellie McKay, Martha Wainwright, Róisín Murphy, and Santigold. Byrne himself appears as the voice of imperialistic America on “American Troglodyte.”

Byrne created Here Lies Love as a musical theater piece, to be mounted in disco and nightclub settings, reflecting the globe-trotting Marcos’ taste for such velvet-roped spots as Studio 54 and Regine’s. In 2006, he performed the work-in-progress versions to enthusiastic audiences at New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Adelaide Festival in Australia before releasing this recording. Before its current Broadway incarnation, an award-winning theatrical production eventually premiered at The Public Theater in New York in 2013—the original cast recording of which was released on Nonesuch in 2014. The show then travelled to London’s National Theater for a sold-out run from 2014–15 and was remounted at the Seattle Repertory Theater in 2017.

Here Lies Love’s sunny arrangements act in counterpoint to the reality of the Marcos’ increasingly repressive regime, reflecting the imagined inner life of the glamour-obsessed Imelda. Byrne explains, “For me, the darker side of the excesses are, for the most part, a matter of record. A lot of the audience is going to come with that knowledge already. What’s more of a challenge is to get inside the head of the person who was behind all of that and understand what made them tick.”

Many of Byrne’s lyrics are constructed from actual Imelda quotes, including the project’s title, the words that Imelda, now returned to the Philippines from US-assisted exile in Hawaii, would like to have inscribed on her gravestone. In addition to a newly written liner note, this new release of the album includes Byrne’s illustrations of the story via archival photos. In a detailed preface, he reveals what drew him to this subject and the bumpy route he took to launch the project and, ultimately, record this album.

The new production of Here Lies Love began previews at the Broadway Theatre in New York City in June, ahead of an official opening night on July 20. Tony Award winner Alex Timbers (developed and directed by) and Olivier Award nominee Annie-B Parson (choreography) reunite with Byrne (concept, music, and lyrics) and Fatboy Slim (music) to bring Here Lies Love to Broadway, continuing a ten-plus year collaboration on the project. Tom Gandey and J Pardo contribute additional music. Here Lies Love is produced on Broadway by Hal Luftig, Patrick Catullo, Diana DiMenna for Plate Spinner Productions, Clint Ramos, and Jose Antonio Vargas. The staging at the Broadway Theatre transforms the venue’s traditional proscenium floor space into a dance club environment, where audiences will stand and move with the actors. A wide variety of standing and seating options are available throughout the theater’s reconstructed space. The producers of Here Lies Love said, “As a team of binational American producers—Filipinos among us—we are thrilled to bring Here Lies Love to Broadway. We welcome everyone to experience this singularly exuberant piece of theater. The history of the Philippines is inseparable from the history of the United States, and as both evolve, we cannot think of a more appropriate time to stage this show. See you on the dance floor!”

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Latest Release

  • August 11, 2023

    David Byrne & Fatboy Slim’s acclaimed 2010 album Here Lies Love gets its first vinyl release to coincide with the 2023 premiere Broadway production. This double-disc song cycle about the rise and fall of the Philippines’ notorious Imelda Marcos was conceived by David Byrne; composed by Byrne and Fatboy Slim; and performed by a dream cast drawn from the worlds of indie rock, alt country, R&B, and pop, including Florence Welch, Cyndi Lauper, Steve Earle, Sharon Jones, Natalie Merchant, Tori Amos, Kate Pierson, St. Vincent, My Brightest Diamond, Nellie McKay, Martha Wainwright, Róisín Murphy, Santigold, and Byrne himself. “Ingenious,” said the New York Times. “Insidiously infective songs.”

News

  • December 20, 2023

    "When I interviewed David Byrne in November, I enjoyed it so much that when the interview was over, I asked if he'd consider returning before Christmas to play some of his favorite Christmas recordings," Terry Gross, host of NPR's Fresh Air, says on today's show. "I am very grateful that he said yes ... I consider David Byrne's return to our show a great Christmas gift for all of us." Byrne offers a Christmas playlist with his own seasonally appropriate song and others by Gaby Moreno, The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl, James Brown, Prince, Paul Simon, The Staples Singers, Neko Case, and more. You can hear their conversation and the playlist here.

  • November 1, 2023

    David Byrne is on NPR’s Fresh Air to talk with host Terry Gross about Talking Heads—whose 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense is in theaters now—and his own evolution, from early musical influences to overcoming setbacks, leading him to wonder what allows people to persevere. "Why is it that people don't give up? That's a real puzzle to me," he says. "I just thought, 'No, I love this. I'm going to keep doing it myself … because I enjoy it.’ So I kept going.” You can hear it here.

Tour

Tue, Apr 16
New York, NY
The Town Hall
Tue, Apr 16
New York, NY
The Town Hall
Wed, May 08
Boston, MA
Museum of Science
Wed, May 08
Boston, MA
Museum of Science

Photos

About David Byrne

  • David Byrne & Fatboy Slim’s acclaimed 2010 album Here Lies Love receives its first vinyl release on August 11, 2023, to coincide with the new musical’s Broadway debut, in a production opening tonight, July 20, at the Broadway Theatre in New York City. Here Lies Love is a double-disc song cycle about the rise and fall of the Philippines’ notorious Imelda Marcos and the People Power Revolution. The album was conceived by David Byrne; composed by Byrne and DJ/recording artist Fatboy Slim, AKA Norman Cook; and performed by a dream cast drawn from the worlds of indie rock, alt country, R&B, and pop, including Florence Welch, Cyndi Lauper, Steve Earle, Sharon Jones, Natalie Merchant, Tori Amos, Kate Pierson, St. Vincent, My Brightest Diamond, Nellie McKay, Martha Wainwright, Róisín Murphy, and Santigold. Byrne himself appears as the voice of imperialistic America on “American Troglodyte.”

    Byrne created Here Lies Love as a musical theater piece, to be mounted in disco and nightclub settings, reflecting the globe-trotting Marcos’ taste for such velvet-roped spots as Studio 54 and Regine’s. In 2006, he performed the work-in-progress versions to enthusiastic audiences at New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Adelaide Festival in Australia before releasing this recording. Before its current Broadway incarnation, an award-winning theatrical production eventually premiered at The Public Theater in New York in 2013—the original cast recording of which was released on Nonesuch in 2014. The show then travelled to London’s National Theater for a sold-out run from 2014–15 and was remounted at the Seattle Repertory Theater in 2017.

    Here Lies Love’s sunny arrangements act in counterpoint to the reality of the Marcos’ increasingly repressive regime, reflecting the imagined inner life of the glamour-obsessed Imelda. Byrne explains, “For me, the darker side of the excesses are, for the most part, a matter of record. A lot of the audience is going to come with that knowledge already. What’s more of a challenge is to get inside the head of the person who was behind all of that and understand what made them tick.”

    Many of Byrne’s lyrics are constructed from actual Imelda quotes, including the project’s title, the words that Imelda, now returned to the Philippines from US-assisted exile in Hawaii, would like to have inscribed on her gravestone. In addition to a newly written liner note, this new release of the album includes Byrne’s illustrations of the story via archival photos. In a detailed preface, he reveals what drew him to this subject and the bumpy route he took to launch the project and, ultimately, record this album.

    The new production of Here Lies Love began previews at the Broadway Theatre in New York City in June, ahead of an official opening night on July 20. Tony Award winner Alex Timbers (developed and directed by) and Olivier Award nominee Annie-B Parson (choreography) reunite with Byrne (concept, music, and lyrics) and Fatboy Slim (music) to bring Here Lies Love to Broadway, continuing a ten-plus year collaboration on the project. Tom Gandey and J Pardo contribute additional music. Here Lies Love is produced on Broadway by Hal Luftig, Patrick Catullo, Diana DiMenna for Plate Spinner Productions, Clint Ramos, and Jose Antonio Vargas. The staging at the Broadway Theatre transforms the venue’s traditional proscenium floor space into a dance club environment, where audiences will stand and move with the actors. A wide variety of standing and seating options are available throughout the theater’s reconstructed space. The producers of Here Lies Love said, “As a team of binational American producers—Filipinos among us—we are thrilled to bring Here Lies Love to Broadway. We welcome everyone to experience this singularly exuberant piece of theater. The history of the Philippines is inseparable from the history of the United States, and as both evolve, we cannot think of a more appropriate time to stage this show. See you on the dance floor!”

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