“Before language became a formation of words, music was, and still is in other spheres, the means of communication between souls.” -Wadada
Suns of Arqa is a sonic mission led by luminary Michael Wadada, who began in 1979 after receiving higher guidance in Jamaica while working with roots reggae chanter Prince Far-I. It is a prolific traveling music collective that has seen over 200 collaborators, meant to connect people from all cultures and walks of life through a “deeply spiritual vibration that merges cultures, faiths and musical genres”. Wadada combines ancient Hindustani raga systems with Piobaireachd and Nyabinghi roots drumming, creating ritualistic world music infused with dub and reggae. The lyrics combine both mystical and sensory elements, often including prayer and referencing a higher power but finding root in experiences common to all people- memory, sight, and physical sensation.
Their first album, Revenge of the Mozabites, was a collaboration between Wadada and On-U Sound creator Adrian Sherwood. Following its 1980 release, Peter Gabriel invited them to perform at the first WOMAD festival. Today, the record is regarded by some as a cult classic. Over the years they have played at many major music festivals including Glastonbury, Big Chill, Telerama Dub Festival, and Transmusicales, and released over 40 albums on Virgin, EMI, Interchill Records, Antler Subway, Red Rhino, and their own label, Arka Sound.
Suns of Arqa has had a seminal influence on the World Beat sound, and continues to make appearances at seasonal festivals and sacred ritual spaces all over the world.