D. A. Mekonnen's new experimental jazz project dragonchild brings the debut performance of BLACK to National Sawdust in this immersive, multimedia spatial sound performance.

April 15, 2023
8:00 pm
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D. A. Mekonnen's new experimental jazz project dragonchild brings the debut performance of BLACK to National Sawdust in this immersive, multimedia spatial sound performance. Conceived and transmitted by D. A. Mekonnen (founder of Debo Band), dragonchild draws on decades of musical experimentation, embodied spiritual practice, and critical thinking—culminating in their debut work BLACK. In this innovative listening experience, four one-sided albums will be played simultaneously to create an immersive swarm of sound using National Sawdust's Meyer Sound spatial sound system. BLACK is dedicated to Alice "Turiya" Coltrane’s Monument Eternal and expands on her work around Universal Consciousness by disorienting the listener to create a space for a shared, communal experience. BLACK will be presented along with visuals of Ethiopia's volcanic lake Erta Ale from photographer Michael Tsegaye. Additionally, dragonchild collaborators Jabari Canada, Olani Ewunnet, Maheder Aekalu, and Christopher Cook will premiere original video and found footage from Ethiopia and the Black Americas. Join us for this one-of-a-kind listening experience.

National Sawdust is a proud Meyer Sound Experience partner.

BLACK, along with a digital eponymous album, will be out on April 21st, 2023 via FPE Records.

About DA Mekonnen

Growing up in Texas as a first-generation Ethiopian-American, DA Mekonnen often heard traditional Ethiopian instrumental and vocal recordings around his home and in his community. After becoming an accomplished saxophonist, Danny sought out master Ethiopian musicians to learn to play the traditional instruments of his heritage. Mekonnen is co-founder and long-time director of Debo Band, whose self-titled debut was included on NPR’s 50 Favorite Albums of 2012. The group’s groundbreaking take on Ethiopian music has lead to performances at the Montreal Jazz Festival, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, South by Southwest, Sauti za Busara (Zanzibar), and the Ethiopian Music(s) Festival (Addis Ababa), to name a few. He also served as the director of the Nile Project, an ensemble of musicians from the eleven countries of the Nile Basin that promotes regional cooperation and sustainability. Since 2015, he has been an active member of the Silkroad Ensemble and worked alongside Silkroad Founder Yo-Yo Ma and current Artistic Director Rhiannon Giddens. He has an M.A. in ethnomusicology from Harvard University where he researched Ethiopian popular music of the 1960s-1970s.

About Michael Tsegaye

Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1975, Michael Tsegaye continues to live and work in Addis Ababa as a photographer. Initially training as an artist, he received his diploma from Addis Ababa University’s School of Fine Arts and Design in 2002. As a fine art photographer, Tsegaye’s work has an attentive voice in recording and documenting his surroundings. Series such as “Future Memories” display the artist’s grasp of change and shifting typography of the city. Tsegaye’s work has been featured in publications and catalogues such as Snap Judgments: New Directions in African Photography, edited by Okwui Enwezor and published by the International Center for Photography in New York in 2007.

Group and solo exhibitions include Medecins Sans Frontières, National Museum Addis Ababa (2011), For a Sustainable World, African Photography Biennial 9th Edition, Bamako, Mali (2011), Selam Arts Festival, Toronto, Canada (2010), Hotel Dystopia Room #25/55: Al Bastakiya Art Fair, Dubai, UAE (2010) andAksum Rediscovered: the Reinstallation of the Obelisk, the UNESCO House, Paris, France (2009). Tsegaye also works as a photographer for publications such as Der Spiegel, Jeune Afrique and press agencies such as Bloomberg and Reuters.

Apr 15

dragonchild: Monument Eternal - a Spatial Sound album release for “BLACK”