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The Other Side of Austin, Texas
By Chris Van Loan
(more articles from this author)
2000-05-10
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Austin, Texas, the self proclaimed "Live Music Capitol of the World" is already widely known for it's outstanding blues, folk, and rock music. Yet there is a steadily flourishing underground music scene of jazz, rap, and funk.

One event that highlighted the underground music scene was the recent 100 Musician Collaboration and Show, a benefit designed to help fund the Sun Ra Arkestra's traveling expenses to Austin.

The free-form improvisational performance held at the Mercury Club on 6th Street was an exhilarating blend of music and culture. The stage was littered with hardcore jazz players, third world percussion, rappers, and electric violin.

This event was organized by Rashah Ahmen as an instrument to help bridge the gap between the primarily black East Austin and the primarily white West Austin. Rashah's goals seem to be on track as the rotation of musicians on the stage seemed to represent the entire cross section of cultures and musical disciplines found in Austin. It appears that having a common ground to express oneself, in an environment where there are no wrong notes, can help bring people together.

"Sun Ra was like a father to me," Rashah said when I asked about the tie in to the late jazz innovator Sun Ra. Rashah, also a percussionist, lived with and was mentored by Sun Ra while living in Philadelphia. "I want some of the younger musicians in town to experience the musical genius of Sun Ra."

The Sun Ra Arkestra will perform at the Mercury on May 11 and May 12th. The 100 Musician Collaborations are announced and coordinated through the local Austin media.

Contacts:
Cosmic Intuition Productions
Rashah Amen
512.604.4405

Mercury Entertainment
CollinsMark@yahoo.com
512.479.4004

Sun Ra Arkestra (I could not find an official Sun Ra web site but there are several web sites dedicated to Sun Ra.)


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