Sun Ra Arkestra and BEARCAT will take the stage to close out our Second Annual Press Play Fair.
Eclectic, outrageous, and sometimes mystifying but always imbued with a powerful jazz consciousness, the music of Sun Ra has withstood its skeptics and detractors for nearly three generations. Like Duke Ellington and swing-era pioneer Fletcher Henderson, Sun Ra learned early on to write music in an arranged form that showcased the specific talents of his individual Arkestra members and he has retained the services of some of these musicians to this day including John Gilmore, Marshall Allen, and Julian Priester. Sun Ra was the first jazz musician to perform on electronic keyboards, the first to pursue full-scale collective improvisation in a big band setting, and his preoccupation with space travel as a compositional subject predated bands like Weather Report by about 15 years. All this from someone who refuses to even cite Earth as his home planet and prefers to have arrived from Saturn. As Sun Ra once explained it, “I never wanted to be a part of planet Earth, but I am compelled to be here, so anything I do for this planet is because the Master-Creator of the Universe is making me do it. I am of another dimension. I am on this planet because people need me.”
BEARCAT is a London-born, Philadelphia-based artist. She has performed all over the world, including Egypt, Paris, Lyon, Berlin, Leipzig, Barcelona, Mexico City, Oakland, and Chicago. She has worked as a DJ/producer, audio engineer, and professional make-up artist since 2005. BEARCAT provided creative direction for live events and festivals such as Afropunk, Glastonbury, Reading and Lovebox, among others. She has also DJed sets for musicians including 21 Savage, CupcakKe, and Caleborate. She draws from deeply personal experiences and Diaspora roots, and isn’t afraid to delve deep. Her sets are emotive musical selections as a form of therapy. Her ear guides her into creating bass-heavy uncompromising, powerful mixes that harness a symbiotic energy between the music and the crowd to generate the perfect soundtrack to any event. 2017 was a year of astounding new heights. BEARCAT performed at the Guggenheim, Wiener Festwochen in Vienna, Bloomberg Summer Picnic, 29Rooms, Performa 17 Biennial. BEARCAT’s archive of work and sets can be found at bearcat.digital.