David Byrne Pairs Musicians With High School Color Guards in 'Contemporary Color,' Featuring Kelis, Nelly Furtado, Nico Muhly, Ira Glass, Dev Hynes, St. Vincent and More

By Jaime Prisco on Jan 27, 2015 11:47 AM EST

Talking Heads founder David Byrne is presenting a new show Contemporary Color, which pairs various musicians with high school color guard teams. Kelis, St. Vincent, Dev Hynes, Nelly Furtado and Nico Muhly with Ira Glass will all be performing at the four productions.

Color guard is an American high school sport that is rooted in the military tradition of marching with flags, rifles and sabers. The goal is to interpret the marching band using these props as well as dance.

Contemporary Color, which will be presented in Toronto and Brooklyn, will pair 10 teenage color guard teams from Canada and the U.S. with each musician. According to a press release, each musician will work alongside the creative heads of each color guard team to produce a “mind-blowing meld of original music and routine.” On stage, they will be accompanied by a brass and string section.

Kelis, St. Vincent, Dev Hynes, Nelly Furtado, How to Dress Well and tUnE-yArDs are slated to perform. Composer Nico Muhly will collaborate with Ira Glass, host of This American Life, on one piece while Byrne will be performing an original number.

In an interview with the New York Times, Byrne says he was first introduced to the color guard when a team asked to license music for a competition. After watching a video of the performance, he was automatically enthralled.

“I’d never seen anything like it,” Byrne said. “Because it was in an arena, I could tell that this was a hugely popular thing, but completely unknown to 98 percent of New Yorkers.”

A co-commission of the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Toronto’s Luminato Festival, the show will premiere at the Air Canada Center June 22 to 23. The show will continue at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn June 27 to 28. This will be BAM’s first partnership with its neighboring arena. Click here to purchase tickets for the Canadian show. Tickets for the Brooklyn performance go on sale Jan. 28 at

Check out the Contemporary Color trailer featuring Byrne below:

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TagsDavid Byrne, Color Guard, Contemporary Color, Talking Heads, Kelis, Nelly Furtado, Nico Muhly, Ira Glass, Dev Hynes, St. Vincent, How to Dress Well, Tune-Yards, BAM, Barclays

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