Sweet Wreath presents
Sun Ra’s Magic City :
A Cosmo-Mythic Map of Birmingham

This map project visualizes the world of Sun Ra at the very beginning
of his earthly journey in the town of his youth, Birmingham, Alabama.
The map’s illustrations depict sites relevant to his early musical career, and a recently unearthed image of Sonny as a member of the Rhythm Four vocal quartet. The project was led by Jasper Lee who sourced images from the Birmingham Public Library Archives, as well as items in the collection of the Southern Music Research Center, such as show advertisements and early images of Sonny’s public appearances. The project draws on the research and writing of Burgin Matthews, especially from his book Magic City: How the Birmingham Jazz Tradition Shaped the Sound of America. The map features a full text on the reverse side with
detailed information about each location connected to Sun Ra’s history.

Drawings were made by artists studying in the art program of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, including Nadia Johnson, Jenna Clark, Kara Brooks and drawing teacher Jasper Lee.

Free copies of the map are available in Birmingham at Renaissance Records, Seasick Records, Saturn and more locations forthcoming.

Thank you to Jimmy Griffin and Craig Legg for the inspiration, to Burgin Matthews and John Szwed for the devoted research, to the local Ra heads who keep the legacy alive and to the Arkestra for continuing to travel the spaceways!