Sunken Cages & The Yaran Project

Photo by Asad Ali Jafri

Drummer/Producer Ravish Momin, working under the moniker Sunken Cages, has assembled a truly global genre-blurring ensemble consisting of Ethiopian saxophonist DA Mekonnen (dragonchild), Iranian multi-instrumentalist Kamyar Arsani (Faraway Ghost) and Muslim-American dancer Amirah Sackett.

The quartet offer a unique blend of Ethiopian melodies, Jazz Improvisation, Persian folkloric poems and forward-thinking electronic beats based in South-Indian rhythms. Amirah Sackett joins them to create improvised choreography, drawing inspiration from HipHop and Middle-Eastern dance styles.

Words, Beats and Life Festival @ Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, April 4, 2024

Sunken Cages

is the solo-project of drummer/electronic music producer Ravish Momin. Momin studied with US Jazz master-drummer Andrew Cyrille. He has worked as a sideman with a wide array of musicians including pop star Shakira and US Jazzlegend Kalaparush Maurice McIntyre (AACM/Chicago.)  In the past, he also led ‘Turning Jewels Into Water’ (with Haitian electronic music pioneer Val Jeanty) and Tarana, a global-Jazz trio, on international and domestic stages. As Sunken Cages, Momin plays electronic drums. While rooted in Indian and Black Music traditions, he is also influenced by the street sounds of underground dance music from Sao Paolo to Durban to Mumbai. He is signed to OnTheCorner Records (UK) and Akuphone Records (France.) He has done remixes for Depeche Mode, global electronic music producers Batida (Portugal), Babani Sound System (Mauritius) and Guedra Guedra (Morocco).

His recent performance highlights include the Words/Beat/ Life Festival (Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage (US)), Big Ears Festival (US), LeGuessWho? Festival (NL), Positive Futures Festival (AT),  Lincoln Center Outdoors Festival (NYC, US), Slingshot Festival (US) and Festival Congedi (IT)He is also the recipient of grants from New Music USA, The Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, NYC Arts In Education Roundtable, Arts International, Meet The Composer and NYSCA (New York State Council of the Arts)

dragonchild

Conceived by Ethio-American saxophonist D.A. Mekonnen–– co-founder/leader of the widely celebrated Debo Band– the solo project dragonchild is a culmination of decades of musical experimentation, embodied spiritual practice, and critical thinking. Danny Mekonnen is a Boston-based musician and the founder of the widely celebrated Debo Band, whose self-titled debut was included on NPR’s 50 Favorite Albums of 2012. Growing up in Texas as a first generation Ethiopian-American, Mekonnen often heard traditional Ethiopian instruments and vocals, later seeking out master Ethiopian musicians to learn to play the traditional instruments of his heritage. The groundbreaking Debo Band combines those influences with American Jazz, Soul and Funk and the instrumentation of Eastern European brass bands. 

Amirah Sackett

An internationally recognized hip-hop dancer, choreographer, and teacher, Amirah Sackett explores and embodies her Muslim American identity through combining hip-hop movement and Islamic themes. She is widely known for her creation of the choreography and performance group known as, “We’re Muslim, Don’t Panic”, which reached viral video fame after being featured on POPSUGAR Celebrity, The Huffington Post, AJ+, and Upworthy. Sackett was honored to be a TEDx speaker, guest lecturer at Harvard University, and a cultural diplomat with the U.S. State Department in Bangladesh and Malaysia.

Faraway Ghost

is the moniker of Kamyar Arsani, an Iranian multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter based in Washington DC. Through his solo work and numerous collaborations, Arsani creates music across an array of styles, ranging from classical Persian music to genre-defying electronic experimentation. A teacher, performer and scholar of the daf (the Iranian frame drum). Arsani has been a featured artist at the Kennedy Center, the Library of Congress, Voice of America, Georgetown University and numerous other stages throughout the region. Along with his solo work and collaborations, Arsani is also the singer and lyricist of Time is Fire, a pan-cultural punk band.