Talking Heads Co-Founder David Byrne to Perform in UB Center for the Arts

By Lois Baker

Release Date: March 12, 2004 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Center for the Arts at the University at Buffalo will present David Byrne at 8 p.m. on May 12 in the Mainstage theater in the Center for the Arts on the UB North (Amherst) Campus.

David Byrne is primarily known as the musician who co-founded the group Talking Heads (1976-88) in New York. On record and in concert, the band was acclaimed by critics and audiences alike; more importantly, however, they have proven to be extremely influential. Talking Heads took popular music in new directions, both in terms of sound and lyrics, and also introduced an innovative visual approach to the genre.

During his time with the group, Byrne was involved with several other projects. He composed and created an evening-length ballet score for choreographer Twyla Tharp's "The Catherine Wheel," directed many of the first video clips to appear on MTV, collaborated with Brian Eno on "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts," a record incorporating "found" voices such as radio preachers, talk show guests and Arabic singers, and created a brass band-and-spoken word score for a theater piece, "The Knee Plays," directed by Robert Wilson.

In 1985, Oscar-winner Jonathan Demme made his prize-winning film of the Talking Heads in concert, "Stop Making Sense." In 1986, Byrne went behind the camera to co-write and direct the feature "True Stories." In 1987, he won an Academy Award for co-writing the score for Bertolucci's epic, "The Last Emperor."

In 1989, Byrne collaborated again with Robert Wilson on "The Forest," a theater piece, composing an orchestral score with mostly wordless vocals. After releasing a soundtrack of the production, he performed it live with various orchestras. That same year, he also directed" Ile Aiye: The House of Life," a documentary on African religion in Brazil; and recorded "Rei Momo," a collaboration with 15 of the best Latin musicians in New York.

Byrne then toured with this group through Europe, Japan, and North and South America. This record and tour were followed by one called "Uh-Oh" (92), on which funk and Latin grooves were mixed together, and a film was made at the end of tour called "Between The Teeth." Two more records followed: the self-titled "David Byrne" (1994) and "Feelings" (1997); 1998 saw the release of "The Visible Man," a record of re-mixed versions of songs from "Feelings."

In late summer Byrne joined his touring band with the London based Balanescu string quartet for a series of live dates and an appearance on "Sessions at West 54th," a weekly one-hour PBS music show that Byrne began to host in the fall of 1998 and spring of 1999, interviewing various musicians and introducing them to a new audience.

Byrne's record label Luaka Bop, which was founded in 1988, has evolved from a label specializing in "world music" compilations to one with emerging acts such as Cornershop, Geggy Tah, Susana Baca, Zap Mama and a host of Alternalatino bands such as Bloque, Los Amigos Invisibles and King Chango.

His latest tour celebrates the release of his new album "Grown Backwards," due in stores on March 16. The new album contains 11 original songs, an indie rock cover and two operatic arias.

Tickets for David Byrne are $29. Tickets are available, beginning March 19, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Center for the Arts Box Office and all Ticketmaster locations, including Kaufmann's. To charge tickets, call 852-5000; in Canada, call 1-416-870-8000. For group sales, call 645-6771. For more information, call 645-ARTS. The Center for the Arts is a TicketFast location.