Sun Ra Arkestra

My Words Are Music: A Celebration of Sun Ra's Poetry (Omni)

Contact Sam McAllister & Jacob Daneman about Sun Ra Arkestra

Today, Omni Sound announce My Words Are Music, a new album celebrating Sun Ra’s poetry, out August 25th on Omni Sound, and present its lead single, “When Angels Speak” by Saul Williams. Sun Ra is better known to most as a musician than a poet, but he identified equally as both. My Words Are Music provides direct access to the sentiments of a poet who never called Earth home. The spoken word album hosts an inspired array of artists — The Arkestra’s Marshall Allen & Knoel Scott, L’Rain, TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adibempe, and others — who personally chose their favorite Sun Ra poems to recite, performing them like instruments newly invented for the occasion. Freed from the page, his poetry acquires an unexpected simplicity and poignance it possessed all along.


My Words Are Music is a project developed in conjunction with Living Sky, the all-instrumental Sun Ra Arkestra album released last year. These two bodies of work aim to offer an opportunity to follow Sun Ra into a better future, through sound and poetry. Williams spearheads this journey with lead single “When Angels Speak,” which is presented alongside a gorgeous lyric video animated by Mertcan Mertbilek.


The haunting beauty of My Words Are Music arises from the thrilling ability of these artists to speak Sun Ra’s abstruse wisdom directly to the listening soul. By some celestial magic, his strange words and abstractions sound like simple truths. Freed from the page, his poetry acquires an unexpected simplicity and poignance it possessed all along. As composer and multi-instrumentalist L’Rain says while reciting the poem “I Deal in Souls,” “It is not amiss that I speak / Words that are strange to the world.” Sun Ra intends them for souls attuned “To the things / I do not say / Rather than to what I say.”


The tracks on My Words Are Music provide a sonic introduction to the philosophy that sustains Sun Ra’s music and poetry. This all-star and intergenerational lineup of artists conjure wisdom from his words: spoken word elder Abiodun Oyewole of The Last Poets; rapper, and singer-songwriter Saul Williams; jazz experimentalist Melanie Charles; British-Trinidadian poet, novelist and musician Anthony Joseph; poet Mahogany L. Browne; poet, playwright, and conceptual artist Carl Hancock Rux; musician/digital composer L’Rain; singer, actor, and director Tunde Adibempe of TV on the Radio singer; British DJ and BBC radio host Zakia Sewell; ballistic hip-hop poet Jive Poetic; and longtime members of the Sun Ra Arkestra, Marshall Allen, Knoel Scott, and Tara Middleton.


Music = words = myth = Blackness = Being. Forever reverberating. Tunde Adebimpe describes the higher purpose of Sun Ra’s work with finality: “When black Prince Charming / Arrayed in deeds of splendour / Comes to awaken black beauty / Sunbursts appear in dark disguises.” The voices on this record speak in sunbursts, a chorus of angels sublimely creating something out of nothing.