Suns of Arqa

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Suns of Arqa
Suns of Arqa (emblem).jpg
Suns of Arqa
Background information
Genres Ambient/Dub/Electronica
World
Years active 1979-present
Labels EMI
Arka Sound
Antler/Subway
Rocksteady
Red Rhino Records
Virgin Records
Bop Cassettes
Associated acts John Cooper Clarke
Gâyan Uttejak Orchestra
Prince Far-I
Professor Stanley Unwin
Adrian Sherwood[1]
Website The Ark
MySpace
Members Michael Wadada

Suns of Arqa are a World Music collective founded in 1979 by Michael Wadada. Since the group's formation, over 200 people from around the world have played and recorded with them, and in many cases these were like-minded musicians Wadada met as he travelled the world.[2][3][4] Pioneers of World Beat, Ambient, Downtempo and Electro-Dub, Suns of Arqa draw inspiration from around the world, interpreting indigenous, tribal and classical folk traditions. They have created an impressive legacy and earned worldwide recognition.[5]

Early days[edit]

Suns of Arqa started out in the World Music scene in 1979, recording their debut album Revenge of the Mozabites which was produced by Adrian Sherwood, who later became known for On-U Sound Records. In 1982, they were invited to play at the first WOMAD Festival by Peter Gabriel. They performed with Prince Far-I at his last concert before his death in 1982.[2] Since then, they have gone on to work with a variety of musicians and performers, such as John Cooper Clarke, Professor Stanley Unwin, flautist Tim Wheater, Adrian Sherwood, singer Helen Watson and a great many others.[3][4][5]

The 1990s and beyond[edit]

In the early 1990s, Wadada started his own Arka Sound label, and started re-issuing the group's older vinyl albums on new compilation CDs.[2][3][4] One of these, 'Land of a Thousand Churches', was a compilation featuring collaborations with artists such as James Young, Helen Watson and Feso Trombone. His combination of Hindu and Celtic traditions at a musical level became a trademark that ultimately became identifiable as his musical style. A few years later, Suns of Arqa worked with artists such as 808 State, A Guy Called Gerald, John Leckie, Zion Train, Muslimgauze, Youth and Astralasia. The results were a fusion of dub, drum and bass, and the existing styles which Suns of Arqa were associated with.[5]

Live[edit]

Throughout their career Suns of Arqa have played at various major music festivals, including the Glastonbury Festival, Phoenix Festival and the first WOMAD Festival.[6] By the mid 1990s, the Suns of Arqa live setup added Scottish bagpipes, Indian strings, reggae percussion, and a variety of other instruments and sounds.[5] They have released three live albums to date, Musical Revue (later reissued as 'Live with Prince Far I'), 'Animan', and 'Big and Live'.

Media[edit]

NME have described Suns of Arqa albums as "definitely the most unusual records of all time", and added that "Some might call it ‘genius’; most will just settle for the word ‘insane’. Either way, the result is fascinating", while East West Journal (USA) have said ”I’m not at all certain how this band manages to so cohesively merge rhythms no other group in the world has dared to mix, I only know that their music is reverent, humorous, profound, disorientating, terrifying and fantastic all at the same time.”. Rick Anderson of All Music Guide wrote that ”Many bands claim to deal in global fusion music, but few have as firm a claim on the genre as the Suns of Arqa ... Big & Live documents several recent live performances and shows Wadada and his cohorts in top form, delivering everything from Celtic-reggae fusion ‘Om Kaaraaya’ ... to Asian meditational sounds ... and sounds in between, such as ‘Majhi Ra’, which adds the keening tones of the shenai to the Celtic-reggae mix. There are fine vocal performances by Angel Eye, Reba Bhaduri and Cat Von Trapp ... some listeners will find this music immediately delightful, while other will probably be mostly puzzled.”[5]

Collaborators[edit]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Title Format Released Record Label Catalogue No Additional Notes
Revenge of the Mozabites LP 1979 Rocksteady Records MICKL01
Musical Revue MC 1983 ROIR Europe RE161 Live cassette featuring Prince Far I
Wadada Magic (Vol III) LP 1983 Antler Subway ANTLER 024
India? (Vol IV) LP 1984 Rocksteady Records 1 GIL
Ark Of The Arqans (Vol 5) LP 1985 Scarface MFACE11
Seven LP 1987 Rocksteady Records ARKA 7
White Band Speak With Forked Tongue MC 1989 Bop Cassettes BIP 403
Jaggernaut LP 1989 Antler/Subway ANT 104
Alap-Joe-Jhala LP/CD/MC 1992 Arka Sound ARKA 2102 CD 13-track album
Kokoromochi LP/CD/MC Feb 1992[7] Arka Sound ARKA 2104 CD 6-track album, includes 'Kalashree' and 'Vairabi' from 'India?', and 'Sanskrit Hymn' from 'Ark of the Arqans'. LP version does not include the two 'India?' tracks.
Shabda CD 1995 Arka Sound ARKA 2109 CD 14-track album
Animan CD 1996 Arka Sound ARKA 2110 CD 11-track live album
SOA meet Gâyan Uttejak Orchestra CD 1999 Arqa Sound ARKA CD 22113 8-track album
Cosmic Jugalbandi CD 1999 Arka Sound ARKA CD 22115 12-track album
Un1verse City CD 2001 Arka Sound/EMI 7243 5 34968 2 1 8-track album
Magiczna Miłość CD 2003 Arka Sound ARKA CD 33124 11-track album, including 3 tracks from 'Wadada Magic' ('Brujo Magic', 'Steppin to the Music', 'The Step')
Hallucinasia CD Nov 2005 Arka Sound ARKA CD 33125 12-track album
Big and Live CD Feb 2006 Arka Sound ARKA CD 33129 12-track live album, including 3 remixes based on tracks from 'Musical Revue'
Scared Sacred CD 2009 Dragonfly Records BFLCD90 7-track album
Know Thyself CD 2010 Interchill Records ICHILL CD 040 4-track album
Stranger Music CD/DVD Apr 2011 Arka Sound ARKA CD 33137 15-track album packaged with 12-track Live DVD

Remix Albums[edit]

Title Format Released Record Label Catalogue No Additional Notes
Jaggernaut (Whirling Dub) CD 1992 Arka Sound ARKA 2103 CD Remixed from Jaggernaut LP
Cradle CD/MC 1992 Earthsounds CDEASM 004 Remixed from Jaggernaut LP
Total Eclipse of the Suns CD 1995 Arka Sound ARKA 2108 CD First album of individual remixes
Remixes Vol 2 & 3 2CD 1998 Echo Beach LC 2188
Technomor CD 2001 Arka Sound ARKA CD 22116-2 Subtitled 'Remixes Vol 4'
Muslim Gauze CD 2001 Arka Sound ARKA CD 22120 Remix album by 'Muslimgauze' Bryn Jones
Cradle (new remix) CD 2002 Arka Sound ARKA CD 33122 Remixed from Jaggernaut LP

Re-issues[edit]

Title Format Released Record Label Catalogue No Details
Live with Prince Far I CD 1999 Arka Sound ARKA 2100 CD Re-issue of 1984 album, plus 4 radio sessions, plus 'Thunder Bolt, Dark Void' ('Ark of the Arqans'), 'Hey Jagunath' ('Govinda Go')
Govinda's House CD 2001 Arka Sound ARKA CD 22117 Re-issue of Disc 2 from 'Remixes 2 & 3' with an extra mix by The Orb
Aberglaube CD 2001 Arka Sound ARKA CD 22118 Re-issue of Disc 1 from 'Remixes 2 & 3'
Revenge of the Mozabites CD 2001 Arka Sound ARKA CD 33116 Bonus track added (see article)
Seven CD 2002 Arka Sound ARKA CD 33125 Updated track listing (see article)
Alap-Joe-Jhala MP3 27 Jul 2005[8] Arka Sound B001GQAGME Re-issue of 1992 CD, without the four opening remixes, instead starting with additional track 'Gavati'
Re-mixs Muslimgauze CD 2007 Soleilmoon SOL 158 CD Re-issue of most of 'Muslim Gauze' with more complete versions of mixes, plus new mixes of 'Whirling Dub', 'Sensi Palestine', 'Horses of the Apothecary'

Singles[edit]

Title Format Released Record Label Catalogue No Details
Soul To Save 7" 1980 Rocksteady Records MICK 010 B-side is an edit of 'Ananta Snake Dance' from 'Revenge of the Mozabites'
Mysteries of the East 12" 1982 Virgin Records 600 642 Jhalib's 'Mysteries of the East', backed by an edit of 'Ananta Snake Dance' from 'Revenge of the Mozabites'
GD Magick 12" Oct 1983 Antler Records ANTLER 018 New track 'GD Magick', plus a remix of 'Acid Tabla' from 'Revenge of the Mozabites', and 'Throw Away Your Guns/Whatyougonnadoonjudgementday' from 'Musical Revue'
Pressure Drop 7"/12" 1984 Vogue Belgique VB788 B-sides are 'World Peace AD' and 'Scully's Reel' from 'Revenge of the Mozabites'
Champs-Élysées 7" 1985 CNR Music  ? Artist billed as 'SOA Band', B-side is Sprout Head Uprising Mash-Up
In Paradisum 12" 1987 Rocksteady Records 1 G1T Artist billed as simply 'Arka', features 'In Paradisum' 7" Single Mix, Disco Dub Mix, and 'Erasmus Meets the Earthling'
Govinda's House 12" 1988 Antler Records ANT 094 B-side is 'In The City of Nine Gates' (dub mix of the A-side)
Govinda Go 12" 1990 Arka Sound ARKA SOUND 2112 Features 'Govinda Go (808 Massey Mix)' and 'Hey Jagunath'
Sul-E-Stomp CD/12" 1992 Magick Eye EYE CD 16 Remixes of 'Sully's Reel' from 'Revenge of the Mozabites' by Astralasia, various 12" versions released
Govinda's Dream CD 22 Aug 1994[9] Arka Sound ARKA 601 CD Remixes of earlier 'Govinda's House' single by Astralasia, Phil Kirby, A Guy Called Gerald
Erasmus Meets The Earthling CD 1994 Arka Sound ARKA 602 CD Remixes of 'Erasmus', Jaggernaut, and 'What Does It Profit' by Phil Kirby, Youth and Greg Hunter
DJ Files 12" 1995 Arka Sound ARKA 602 Remixes of Jaggernaut, and 'What Does It Profit' by Phil Kirby, Youth and Greg Hunter
Govinda's Dream (Remixes) 12" 1995 Arka Sound ARKA 601R Two remixes from United Spirits Of Rhythm and A Guy Called Gerald
Tomorrow Never Knows (Promo) 12" 2001 EMI 12ARQWL 001 Two remixes of 'Tomorrow Never Knows' by Chicken Lips, plus The Orb remix of 'Children of Jumma'
Brujo Magic 12" 2012 Emotional Rescue ERC 002 Previously unreleased versions of Brujo Magic and Ananta Snake Dance

Compilations[edit]

Title Format Released Record Label Catalogue No Details
Vol 2+3 Eclecticism MC 1983 One G Productions 1G 1 Tracks from 'Revenge of the Mozabites', 'Wadada Magic' and 'GD Magick'
Arqaology: Wadada 1979 to 1986 LP 1986 One G Productions 1G 2L Tracks from 'Revenge of the Mozabites', 'Wadada Magic', 'GD Magick', 'Ark of the Arqans' and two tracks by Sprout Head Uprising ('Nothing to Sing Part II' and 'Hard Life')
Land of a Thousand Churches CD/MC 1991 Arka Sound ARKA 2101 CD New remixes of 'The Truth Lies Therein' and 'Open The Door To Your Heart', plus tracks from 'India?', 'Ark of the Arqans', 'Seven' and 'Govinda Go'
Arqaology LP/CD/MC 1992 Arka Sound ARKA 2105 CD New remixes of 'Brujo Magic' and 'City of Nine Gates', plus tracks from 'Revenge of the Mozabites', 'Wadada Magic', 'GD Magick'
Solar Activity 1979–2001 2CD 2001 Arka Sound/EMI 7243 5 31592 2 1 Compilation
A Brief History of SOA CD 25 Nov 2002 Arka Sound ARKA 2111 CD Compilation
Tributey CD 2003 Arka Sound ARKA 33123 CD Compilation featuring interviews with Professor Stanley Unwin
Through The Gate We Go 2CD 2008 Arka Sound ARKACD 33133 27-track DJ Mix by Tom Fu

Video[edit]

Title Format Released Record Label Catalogue No Details
Hindu Pict DVD 06 Nov 2006 Arka Sound ARKA 12306 DVD 20-track DVD including live footage, interviews and music/video mixes
Stranger Music DVD Apr 2011 Arka Sound ARKA CD 33137 15-track Live DVD (with CD Album) recorded Wiltshire 2010, Big Chill 2009, Glastonbury 2008

Discography Data sources [1][3][10]

References[edit]