Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae
confirms her years-in-the-making Black Rainbows project. Inspired by the objects and artworks collected by Theaster Gates at the Stony Island Arts Bank in Chicago, the work includes a collection of songs, a book Refraction/Reflection of the Arts Bank photographed by Koto Bolofo, live performances, visuals, lectures and exhibitions—a bold move from her previous work.
The album Black Rainbows is due for release September 15 via Thirty Tigers. Pre-save/pre-order the album here.
The first single, ‘New York Transit Queen’, which The Observer have described as “an exciting post-punk glam thrash… like Santigold dismantling Blur’s Song 2” is out now; listen/share here, and watch the video trailer here.
“I knew when I walked through those doors that my life had changed forever,” says Bailey Rae. “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. This music has come through seeing. Seeing has been like hearing, for me. While I was looking, songs/sounds appeared.”
Wide ranging in its themes, Black Rainbows’ subjects are drawn from encounters with objects in the Arts Bank, a curated collection of Black archives comprising books, sculpture, records, furniture and problematic objects from America’s past. From the rock hewn churches of Ethiopia to the journeys of Black Pioneers westward, from Miss New York Transit 1957 to how the sunset appears from Harriet Jacobs’ loophole, Black Rainbows explores Black femininity, Spell Work, Inner Space/Outer Space, time collapse, ancestors and music as a vessel for transcendence.
In continued homage to African American art, Bailey Rae chose Amanda Williams and Koto Bolofo for the art direction and photography, respectively, of the project. Amanda Williams was recently honored as a 2022 Macarthur Fellow, with her work exhibited at highly acclaimed museums across the country notably New York’s Museum of Modern Art and Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art. In similar excellence, Koto Bolofo was awarded the 2022 Lucie Award for Achievement in Advertising in Photography, with his editorials featured in Vogue, Vanity Fair, GQ and many others.
In celebration of the new project, Bailey Rae is performing select shows across the US this autumn, with a number of shows in Spain and a very special performance in London’s Ladbroke Hall on October 25th. See below for the full tour routing.
CORINNE BAILEY RAE BLACK RAINBOWS
1. A Spell, A Prayer
2. Black Rainbows
5. Red Horse
6. New York Transit Queen
7. He Will Follow You With His Eyes
8. Put It Down
9. Peach Velvet Sky
10. Before The Throne of Invisible God
CORINNE BAILEY RAE LIVE
September 5—Long Island, NY—Staller Center for the Arts @ Stony Brook University
September 6—Washington, DC—Lincoln Theatre
September 8—Philadelphia, PA—Theatre of Living Arts
September 9—New Haven, CT—Schwarzman Center at Yale University
September 10—New York, NY—The National Jazz Museum in Harlem
September 12—Cincinnati, OH—Memorial Hall
September 14—Chicago, IL—Rockefeller Memorial Chapel at University of Chicago
September 17—Nashville, TN—CMA Theater
September 19—Charleston, SC—Charleston Music Hall
September 20—Durham, NC—Carolina Theatre
September 22—Sugar Hill, GA—The Eagle Theater at Sugar Hill
September 24—Birmingham, AL—Alys Stephens Center at University of Alabama
September 26—New Orleans, LA—Orpheum Theater
September 29—Austin, TX—The Paramount Theatre
October 1—Houston, TX—Stafford Centre
October 3—Dallas, TX—Texas Theatre
October 5—Santa Fe, NM—Lensic Performing Arts Center
October 7—Marfa, TX—Saint George Hall
UK / SPAIN TOUR DATES
October 25—London, UK—Ladbroke Hall
October 26—London, UK—Ladbroke Hall
October 28—London, UK—Ladbroke Hall
October 31—Madrid, Spain—Teatro Pavón
November 1—Barcelona, Spain—Studio P62
November 3—Seville, Spain—Cartuja Centre
ABOUT CORINNE BAILEY RAE
British singer/songwriter/musician Corinne Bailey Rae shot to stardom with her self-titled #1 U.K. debut album in 2006, featuring the global hits ‘Put Your Records On’ and ‘Like A Star’. Over the course of her career she has released three critically acclaimed studio albums—Corinne Bailey Rae, The Sea and The Heart Speaks in Whispers—and earned two Grammy Awards, two MOBOS, and been nominated for multiple awards including the BRIT Awards, Mercury Music Prize and BET Awards. Her work for film and television includes the theme to Stan Lee’s Lucky Man (SKY1), ‘The Scientist’ for Universal Pictures’ Fifty Shades Darker opening title and soundtrack which charted globally, and in 2020 her song ‘New to Me’ was performed in the film The High Note by Tracee Ellis Ross. Bailey Rae has collaborated with a wide range of artists including Mary J. Blige, Al Green, Herbie Hancock, KING, Paul McCartney, Kele Okereke (Bloc Party), Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Questlove, Salaam Rami, RZA, Tyler The Creator, Paul Weller, Richard Hawley, Stevie Wonder, Tracey Thorn, Pharrell, Logic, Mick Jenkins, Miles Kane and many more.
ABOUT THEASTER GATES
Theaster Gates lives and works in Chicago. He creates work that focuses on space theory and land development, sculpture and performance. Drawing on his interest and training in urban planning and preservation, Gates redeems spaces that have been left behind. Known for his recirculation of art-world capital, he creates work that focuses on the possibility of the “life within things.” Gates smartly upturns art values, land values and human values. In all aspects of his work, he contends with the notion of Black space as a formal exercise—one defined by collective desire, artistic agency and the tactics of a pragmatist. Gates has exhibited and performed at Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France; Sprengel Museum Hannover, Germany (2018); Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland (2018); National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., USA (2017); Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada (2016); Fondazione Prada, Milan, Italy (2016); Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (2013); Punta della Dogana, Venice, Italy (2013) and dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany (2012). He was the winner of the Artes Mundi 6 prize and was a recipient of the Légion d’Honneur in 2017. He was awarded the Nasher Prize for Sculpture 2018, as well as the Urban Land Institute, J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development. Gates is a professor at the University of Chicago in the Department of Visual Arts and the College and also serves as the Senior Advisor for Cultural Innovation and Advisor to the Dean. Gates is Director of Artists Initiatives at the Lunder Institute for American Art at Colby College Museum of Art and the 2018/2019 Artist-in-Residence at the Getty Research Institute (GRI).
ABOUT STONY ISLAND ARTS BANK
Designed by William Gibbons Uffendell and built in 1923, the bank at 68th and Stony Island was once a vibrant community savings and loan. Today, the restored Stony Island Arts Bank provides the South Side of Chicago with 17,000 square feet of space for innovation in contemporary art and archival practice. At the time of its construction, the bank was a symbol of the growing prosperity of the South Side, which was experiencing a building boom in the early decades of the 20th century. In 1979 the Bank was closed and it fell into disrepair. In 2012, upon threat of demolition, artist Theaster Gates purchased the building from the City of Chicago for $1. Gates, whose practice harnesses the power of space, objects and the spirit within them, saved the landmark from destruction. Gates sold marble from the original Bank build as “bank bonds” on the commercial art market to finance the renovation and remediation of the building. Today, the Stony Island Arts Bank is a vibrant hub of artistic, archival and cultural activity on the South Side of Chicago. In addition to serving as a gallery, institution and cultural space, the Arts Bank also hosts a variety of events including exhibitions, performances, film screenings and lectures.