David Byrne's Color Guard–Inspired "Contemporary Color" Coming to Brooklyn and Toronto

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Contemporary Color, a performance event created by David Byrne inspired by the high school phenomenon of color guard, will be presented in Toronto and Brooklyn this June. Color guard teams from the US and Canada will perform alongside live performances from David Byrne, Nelly Furtado, How to Dress Well, Devonté Hynes, Kelis, Nico Muhly and Ira Glass, St. Vincent, tUnE-yArDs, and more. A co-commission by BAM and Luminato Festival, Contermporary Color promises audiences "the biggest glitter cannon show of your life."

 

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Contemporary Color, a performance event created by David Byrne, will be presented at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre for Luminato Festival June 22 and 23 and at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, June 27 and 28, the latter presented by BAM and Barclays Center. The event, co-commissioned by BAM and Toronto’s Luminato Festival, was 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 alongside live performances from David Byrne, Nelly Furtado, How to Dress Well, Devonté Hynes, Kelis, Nico Muhly and Ira Glass, St. Vincent, tUnE-yArDs, and more. 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 the musicians involved 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."

Tickets for the BAM performances go on sale today for Friends of BAM and next Wednesday, January 28, for the general public, at bam.org. Tickets for the Luminato Festival performances go on sale this Friday, January 23, for Luminato Insiders and Monday, January 26, for the general public, at luminatofestival.com.

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David Byrne: "Contemporary Color"
  • Wednesday, January 21, 2015
    David Byrne's Color Guard–Inspired "Contemporary Color" Coming to Brooklyn and Toronto

    Contemporary Color, a performance event created by David Byrne, will be presented at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre for Luminato Festival June 22 and 23 and at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, June 27 and 28, the latter presented by BAM and Barclays Center. The event, co-commissioned by BAM and Toronto’s Luminato Festival, was 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 alongside live performances from David Byrne, Nelly Furtado, How to Dress Well, Devonté Hynes, Kelis, Nico Muhly and Ira Glass, St. Vincent, tUnE-yArDs, and more. 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 the musicians involved 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."

    Tickets for the BAM performances go on sale today for Friends of BAM and next Wednesday, January 28, for the general public, at bam.org. Tickets for the Luminato Festival performances go on sale this Friday, January 23, for Luminato Insiders and Monday, January 26, for the general public, at luminatofestival.com.

    Journal Articles:Artist News

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