Suns of Arqa


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This is one of several collaborations between Michael Wadada, founder and leader of the Suns of Arqa, and the Hungarian folkloric bandleader Laszlo Hortobagyi and his Gayan Uttejak Orchestra. These recordings have been an interesting and rewarding departure for Wadada, much of whose work up until this point has focused on fusions of South Asian, reggae, and funk influences. Those influences are all here as well; on this album, the Suns of Arqa include a vocalist as well as players of the shenai, sarangi, and tabla along with Wadada's own electric bass and slide guitar. But the foremost sounds are often those of some kind of keening East European reed instrument, and the lush orchestral strings underlie several tracks as well. "Kadir the Whirling Durvish" adds aggressive funk drumming to the mix, while the eerie "El-Horto-Ang" juxtaposes what sounds like Tibetan throat singing with heavily tweaked jungle breakbeats. "Lamudia Dub" is exactly what you'd expect based on the title: spacy, exotic, experimental world reggae. And best of all, the late Prince Far I makes a cameo appearance on two tracks. Excellent.

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