In 1946, a musician named Herman P. Blount, followed the great migration from  Birmingham, Alabama (The Magic City)  to Chicago Illinois. In 1961, this same musician left Chicago as Sun Ra and his Arkestra, and Herman P. Blount was never heard from again. For me this remarkable period of gestation and self-actualization operates as a model, a road map, and a prayer for every creative being. Deeply rooted and invested in cultural, historical, and spiritual aspects of African-American life, Sun Ra also imagined himself — created himself– into a cosmological being unencumbered by the gravitational pulls of this world.

To celebrate this model of self-invention and to protest the lingering and ever oppressive constraints which beleaguer working class people in America, filmmaker and visual artist, Cauleen Smith, in conjunction with a host of Chicago Talents, organizations, citizens, and  troublemakers will produce a series of live street protests/parties in the form of A ROGUE INSURGENT MARCHING BAND that will converge upon an agreed upon site to play an arrangement of a Sun Ra Tune, and then scatter before anyone knows what hit’em!

THE SOLAR FLARE ARKESTRAL MARCHING BAND, in homage to Sun Ra, will wear “uniforms” inspired by Sun Ra’s Original Arkestra, and converge from many points (like stars) into a designated site to incite the abandonment of the status quo, interrupt corporate routine, and celebrate the ways that individuals agree to exist within communities.

The arrangements of Sun Ra tune have been commissioned from five truly amazing Chicago composers:

LeRoy Bach,
Reneé Baker,
Nicole Mitchell,
Greg Ward,
Edward Wilkerson.

These creative musicians, through the dynamism of the Solar Flare Arkestral Marching Band, are going to ROCK THE STREETS. The live audio recordings as well as a video, which folds these performances into an experimental narrative, will become available through threewalls gallery and its partners in the Fall of 2011. So if you can’t wait that long you gotta come to the marches!

Because the marches are spontaneous flash mobs, there is no schedule available. So for up to the minute updates, which will give you the location and times of the marches several hours in advance, follow the TWITTER FEED: solarflareark.

Keep checking back here, follow the tweets, or join the facebook page for updates. (Once you log into facebook, search for Solar Flare Arkestra and you’ll find the page.) And of course, subscribe to this blog for further information about the whys and what-fors of this project.

The Solar Flare Marching Band is one component of a larger project being supported through the artist-in residence program at threewalls gallery.