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Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra Book Review Black History Month

http://www.candlewick.com/cat.asp?browse=Title&mode=book&isbn=0763658065&pix=n
Disclosure: Candlewick Press gave me a copy of this book free of charge to review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

Have you ever heard of Sun Ra? How about Sun Ra and the Arkestra? I hadn't until I read this great book, The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra by Chris Raschka. You know it is going to be interesting when it starts out with Sun Ra always said he was from Saturn. It goes on to basically say even though we know that is not true let's assume it is. Sun Ra was an amazing musician and composer. He formed a group of musicians called the Arkestra or Sun Ra's Arkestra. When looking at the various cultures, I like to give Hazel a well rounded look. As important as the Civil Rights Movement is, I think it is also important for her to learn a bit about the arts and the people.

SunRa in 1992
Sun Ra and the Arkestra in 1992 by Pandelis karayorgis at en.wikipedia
[GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The book shares many interesting facts about Sun Ra's life. From his travels to forming the band and the fact that he hardly slept. He would sleep for only a few hours at a time and sometimes it was in the middle of his rehearsal. Being in the Arkestra meant living with the Arkestra and many long hours of playing. This book was fun to read an learn about a great musician I had not heard of. Of course reading a book about a musician makes me want to check out the music for myself. I went to the local public library and found some CDs. Hazel and I have been enjoying listening to the cool music of Sun Ra in the car.



And I found some on Youtube as well, so I can share his music with you. 

 


So if you would like to explore an interesting musician's life check out The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra. It is not many young black men who could go into an all white piano shop and play, compose and practice on the pianos in the South during Segregation. That in itself tells about his talents at a young age! He was born Herman Poole Blount, but legally changed his name when he could. He chose to live his life by telling people he was from Saturn and trying to pull the cosmos into things. He grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and was among the first musicians to try the electric keyboard. His cosmo-life makes an interesting story to follow and his music is wonderful. Enjoy!!


Now I will be posting in the Multicultural Kid Blogs Black History Month Series and Giveaway on Monday. The series began this past Monday and the giveaway is open. I will be sharing this post at the link party there as well. Please check it out!! There are some amazing prizes!!

For more posts about Civil Rights Movements and Black History check out: