Many years ago, the jazz giant and visionary Sun Ra coined the movement Afrofuturism: the african and afrodiasporic view of technology and progress – the utopia of a free world with unlimited (musical) possibilities

Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah (Christian Scott)
Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah (Christian Scott)

Space is the place! After the Second World War, society developed an ardent enthusiasm for technology and progress: the space race, the moon landing and science fiction novels to name but a few manifestations. African and afrodiasporic culture did not remain unaffected by this trend, but its vision of the future took on a different form – the utopia of a freer world with different hierarchies and no limits on self-actualisation. The expanses of the galaxy were a place to escape racism, marginalisation and indignity.

Labelled »Afrofuturism«, this movement quickly developed its own aesthetic principles, with the jazz legend and prophetic visionary Sun Ra playing a key role: drawing on the imagery of ancient African civilisations and cosmic spirituality, and later through experimentation with electronic sound production. The legendary sun king of jazz died in 1993, yet his legacy lives on. In November, his Sun Ra Arkestra is performing in the Elbphilharmonie, led by his long-time musical companion Marshall Allen, who will be 98.

Afrofuturism was given a new dynamism by the Black Lives Matter movement. Marvel’s big-screen blockbuster »Black Panther« is the most famous example of that. But many young musicians are also reaching out to the future with relish again, delighting audiences in the process. On »Black to the Future«, the Sons of Kemet, led by saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, make an assault on the future with furious yet danceable horn sounds.

Angel Bat Dawid is an exceptional phenomenon: she is a multi-instrumentalist and composer as well as a DJ. Her concerts blend music, meditation and dance. Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah (Christian Scott)reconsiders what’s possible through jazz. He calls his sound »stretch music«, which incorporates elements of hip-hop as well as alternative rock.

The Grammy-nominated trumpeter Theo Croker also plays freely and without heeding genre boundaries. And Ravi Coltrane dedicates an intimate concert to exploring the legacy of another spiritual powerhouse in jazz history: his parents John and Alice Coltrane.

Supported by Freundeskreis Elbphilharmonie + Laeiszhalle e.V.