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Corinne Bailey Rae

Corinne Bailey Rae announces Black Rainbows

A musical project inspired by the objects in the Stony Island Arts Bank, Chicago

+ new worldwide record deal with Thirty Tigers

Acclaimed British singer, songwriter and producer Corinne Bailey Rae unveiled a glimpse of her new musical project on Friday 14th October in a very special concert at London’s Serpentine Pavilion. The performance was part of the closing weekend celebrations within the Black Chapel, a structure designed and created by the Chicago-based multi-disciplinary artist Theaster Gates.

Joined by regular musical collaborators keyboardist and producer Steve Brown and drummer and percussionist Mikey Wilson, Bailey Rae also welcomed guests to the stage including The Black Monks, the experimental musical collective who sonically bring life to the everyday objects and artworks collected by Gates at the Stony Island Arts Bank in Chicago.

And it is a number of objects within the archival collection of black art at the Stony Island Arts Bank that have provided the deep and profound inspirations behind Corinne Bailey Rae’s forthcoming project, entitled Black Rainbows.

When Bailey Rae was travelling through America as part of the global tour in support of her last album The Heart Speaks In Whispers in 2016, she visited the Arts Bank and found herself entranced and haunted by what she saw there.

As she explains, “I saw scores for songs written during slavery times, thousands of Black books in a double height library, a Nick Cave Sound Suit just hanging on the wall, postcards, glass slides, ceramic objects, African masks and everything was so tactile; wood, glass, marble, stone, ceramic, leather. The objects were talking to me. While I was on my tour bus driving through America all I could think about was that space, I had to get back.”

Since that first visit she has been creating a body of work that examines her visceral, emotional, spiritual and artistic connections to the objects she saw in the Stony Island Arts Bank. “Engaging with these archives and encountering Theaster Gates and his practice has changed how I think about myself as an artist and what the possibilities of my work can be,” reveals Bailey Rae.

Theaster Gates comments, “It’s an honour to witness Corinne’s evolution as an artist and the deepening of her creative interests in objecthood and the Black archive as a source of inspiration, experimentation and production. Corinne’s fellowship in our Mellon Archives Innovation Program demonstrates the artistic possibilities available when academics and artists come together to reimagine the deployment of Black objects. I’m proud to support her forthcoming project, and I’m grateful for her friendship.”

A unique artistic universe, created by Corinne Bailey Rae, Black Rainbows is an incredible – and at times radical – flowering of Bailey Rae’s remarkable talent. It is set to be unveiled through recorded music, live performances, books, exhibitions, videos, talks and further art happenings to be announced in due course.

The project will be released next year through the global record deal Bailey Rae has struck with leading American independent Thirty Tigers, founded in 2001 by Grammy Award-winning producer David Macias and Deb Markland.

David Macias comments, "I've always been a fan of Corinne's music, but nothing prepared me for how deeply moved I would be listening to her new album. It's a work of towering genius and makes me feel like I did when I heard classic albums like D'Angelo's Black Messiah and Fiona Apple's Fetch The Bolt Cutters. I know that's a strong statement, but I stand by it. I'm intensely proud to welcome Corinne and this amazing album into the Thirty Tigers family."

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