Tuesday, May 20, 2014

2014 Sun Ra News from Art Yard's Peter Dennett

The Afro-futurists, Avant-gardist Band Leader, Composer, Poet and Philosopher Sun Ra who came from Saturn arrived on Planet Earth on 22nd May 1914. To celebrate his centenary of course many events will be taking place, from radio broadcasts from the followers of the Living Myth to releases and live performances, The Arkestra are on tour Travailing The Spaceways from Planet to Planet to mark this occasion, The Celestial Centenary Arkestra will take the stage again in London across Europe and America under the direction of Marshall Allen. The tour dates can be found here on the Sun Ra Arkestra website { http://www.sunraarkestra.com/1-main.html }

Art Yard will publish later this year the revised and expanded 2nd edition of Hartmut Geerken's wonderful Book Omniverse 'Hard Back' 300 pages aprox with many previously un-published photographs of Sun Ra's visit to Heliopolis, Cairo in 1971 and LP covers 'some hand drawn by Ra himself' to celebrate this years centenary of the Living Myth, its been 20 years since the 1st edition, with articles from Amiri Baraka, Robert Campbell, Chris Cutler, Salah Ragab, Hartmut Geerken and others, plus many more photographs taken by Val Wilmer on her visit to New York in 1966, Philadelphia and Germany in 1979. Sun Ra's discography is also being revised and updated by Chris Trent who compiled 'The Earthly Recordings of Sun Ra', so this will be much more then a 'coffee table' book , more of a reference art book and an important contribution to add to the list of publications about the work of Sun Ra from some of the people who were involved with The Living Myth over the years. Later on this year there will be more information about when the Omniverse book goes to press and where you can order it.

Art Yard has also been collaborating with the record company 'Strut' in order to celebrate the centenary of Sun Ra's arrival on Planet Earth and in March 2013, I visited Pharaoh's Den in Philadelphia 'The Sun Ra House' to film a series of interviews with Marshall and some of The Arkestra band members, the compilation release we put together 'In The Orbit of Ra' spans some 25 years of Sun Ra's work. This release features recollections and contributions from some of the core Arkestra line-up including Marshall Allen, Michael Ray, Knoel Scott and Danny Ray Thompson. For the music, the selection takes us through the huge variety and intricacy of the Arkestra’s work covering the ‘60s to early ‘80s, from the celestial blues of ‘Spontaneous Simplicity’ and ‘Plutonian Nights’ to the urgent jazz of ‘Rocket Number Nine Take Off For Planet Venus’ and ‘Dance Of The Cosmo Aliens’. The album features an exclusive previously unreleased track from the Art Yard archives, the acoustic ‘Trying To Put The Blame On Me’ recorded live in Rome in 1977. ‘In The Orbit Of Ra’ will be released on 2CD, 2LP and digital formats. Physical formats feature full interview with Marshall Allen. Initial quantities of the vinyl format will feature thick card sleeve, 180g vinyl.

Sun Ra created provocative philosophical constellations within his music and art to draw attention to black history and re-affirm the heritage of black culture, the captivating costumes and Egyptian references, the shadow worlds of his stage shows, The Nubians of Plutonia presentations with the 'New Forms' of music and possibilities unknown. 

The magic of his existential Angel Race paradox Mr. Mystery, 'The Shaman or Magic Talisman' lives on. 

Sun Ra's influence will continue to be felt in the forthcoming generations and for millennia to come, his interaction has been critical to the sub-cultures within the contemporary music scene and movements of electronic and avant-garde music's, his artistic contribution is eternal, Sun Ra's music is truly a link between this world and the next.

Peter Dennett 17th May 2014.

Sun Ra in the 1960s (appears to be a Val Wilmer shot).

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