MP3 Aquilla Sadalla - Cosmos Watching
A refreshing and alluring set of original compositions that blends inspirational, soft rock, jazz, roots reggae, and neo-soul.
6 MP3 Songs
URBAN/R&B: Soul, JAZZ: Acid Jazz
Born Marcella Graves, in the early 1950’s, Aquilla Sadalla’s journey into music began as a young girl in the Baptist church. As a youth, she was made aware of the power of music. Her formative years were spent exploring and expressing her love for music and sound. This love carried her through school and church choirs and talent competitions through elementary and high school. It was during this time that she and close friend Ann Nesby (Grammy Award-Winning Sounds of Blackness), formed a female vocal trio called the Starlights, and began performing hits from Aretha Franklin, Sly and the Family Stone and other note worthy artists at local weddings, family gatherings and talent shows.
In the late 1960’s, Aquilla was accepted into Northern Illinois University. While enrolled in NIU, she became a member of the NIU Black Choir. Here she developed her fundamental gift and ability for vocal performance and choral repertoire in an academic setting. After completing her BA in History Education at NIU in the early 1970’s, Aquilla competed in the Miss Black America pageant and landed 1st runner up. No combination of achievements, however, would prove more impressive than the assortment of musical groups with which she would soon become involved. She spent 18 years studying and performing instrumental and vocal music with the Circle of Sound, as well as Samana (a Chicago based female vocal and instrumental ensemble known for avant-garde improvisation and eclectic jazz tinged arrangements). If Aquilla’s melodic delivery strikes a familiar chord that resonates with a listener of that Chicago brand of soul consciousness made known by the likes of Sun-Ra, Roy Ayers or the likes of
In the 1990’s, Aquilla became a member of the Ju-Ju Nation African Arkestra and the Sundance Multi Performing Arts Company and eventually would rise to the call of lead singer for home-grown dance and funk tactics of Chicago’s Thrill Jockey recording artists, The National Trust.
In Her Own Words
Aquilla’s drive and testimony is clearly spiritual in nature and wholistic in approach, no exceptions. “The music must play the larger role in reclaiming our glory”, says Aquilla regarding music, as a solution to the life problems that perpetually plague the human spirit seemingly now more than ever before. “The time is at hand, the time is now. A music that can heal the world is emerging out of the depths of our pain from the lack of knowledge and the absence of a cultural based community. When we speak on saving the world, it must begin with music”.
Words wisely spoken from a woman that has spent several years paying dues in the name of music and the joy of creation. In addition to writing, performing and recording music for some of Chicago’s talented and chosen pioneers of creative music, Aquilla has been a presence in the culture of her community for many years. Her hard work and commitment to music and motherhood has rewarded her a family of brass musicians who are collectively known to the world today as The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (https://www.tradebit.com She is currently the featured vocalist on Jupiter, a breakout single independently released in 2005 by the HBE on their own label, then re-released on the Pantone label in 2006, selling thousands of units worldwide. Aquilla is also a vocal attraction on the Thrill Jockey release Stages by The National Trust in 2005.
The New Millineum and Healing Music
Aquilla is presently at work assembling her own musical group that aims to deliver her debut recording project that speaks to the power of music as a healing force of the world. Drawing upon her many years as a featured vocalist, outstanding instrumentalist and dynamic improvisor, Aquilla has summoned 7 talented and gifted musicians from the Chicagoland area. After spending much of 2007 composing and recording, Aquilla stands poised and ready to rise to the call in 2008. With a fresh new band and an uplifting and replenishing mix of inspired lyrics and captivating musical tapestry, soul, jazz, gospel, reggae and spoken word are just a few of the styles that immediately come to mind when taking in the sonic textures that comprise Cosmos Watching 2008, the debut EP offering from Aquilla. At first listen, the sweet vocal and musical textures bring to mind such diverse influences as Marcia Griffiths, Sweet Honey In The Rock, Jennifer Holliday, Nina Simone, Cassandra Wilson, Dianne Reeves and Nancy Wilson. The music is produced by long time friend and Chicago native Olatunji Thomas White (B.S.T.C.), who calls upon a cross generational assortment of musicians to bring a unique yet familiar soulful sound to the ear.
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