Meet the Artists of Cosmo Sun Connection: Celebrating the Life & Musical Legacy of Sun Ra

Promotional image for the Cosmo Sun Connection show at The Cedar

This Saturday, KFAI and The Cedar call to order a meeting of the celestial minds to celebrate Sun Ra. May 22nd marks the 105th anniversary of his arrival on Planet Earth. The event features a mix of solo and ensemble performances from local, national, and international improvisers inspired by Sun Ra’s musical, poetic, and philosophical body of work, including Queen Drea, Dameun Strange, Kahil Brewington, Stephanie Watts, Temple of the Nu, Davu Seru, George Cartwright, Liz Draper, Chris Gray, Charlie Parr, shxmxn and more.

Hear from a few of the artists involved about what they love about Sun Ra, and get your tickets for the celebration on Saturday, May 25th here.


Dameun Strange

Dameun Strange

Who are you, and what project are you playing with as part of the Cosmo Sun Connection event?

I am Dameun Strange and I am an organizer of Temple of the Nu a new collective exploring electro-acoustic improvisational music creating new rituals for these time and universes along the way. ToTN is Queen Drea, Erica Orton, Stephanie Watts, Sugi Geneshanathan, Kahlil Brewington, Katie Devoe and Lauren Husting.

What does Sun Ra mean to you?

Sun Ra is the Godfather of afrofuturism and an innovative sound creator/composer, philosopher and multidisciplinary artist who created as a means of transcending the limitations of this orb called earth. He broke form, creating new realms of exploration challenging the audiences assumption about Black people and our relationship to this planet. 

What excites you most about this event? 

I love any opportunity to celebrate Black composers who pushed back against the status quo and convention, like a black hole pulling apart universes and creating new ones over and over again and if, I can be a part of it and do it with amazing musicians whom I love and respect, beautiful and more brilliant!


Charlie Parr

In-progress photo of Charlie Parr’s space hat

Who are you, and what project are you playing with as part of the Cosmo Sun Connection event? 

I’m Charlie Parr, and I’m going be a guitarist for Portal III, which is me, Liz Draper, and Chris Gray.  

What does Sun Ra mean to you?

Sun Ra’s music represents eternal music, which we can participate in for its own sake and celebration. He brought a cosmology to music, which defied genre and let everyone participate. He acknowledged that music is sacred, but neither forbidden or private. 

What excites you most about this event? 

I’m excited that it’s happening, looking forward to attending and hearing all these amazing musicians, and very honored to be included. 


Elliott. (of Astralblak)

Who are you, and what project are you playing with as part of the Cosmo Sun Connection event? 

shxmxn is a collective of futurists and imagineers. contemporary urban artists brought together by the love of sonic frequency, performance, and oration. We see this performance piece as an opportunity to expand people's perceptions of expression through honoring the legacy of Sun Ra. shxmxn is myself, MMYYKK, Miguel Hurtado, Lonegront, Sennah Sampong, and Jordan Hamilton.

What does Sun Ra mean to you?

Sun Ra is the godfather of free cosmic expression. An avant garde artist who's  pioneering sound provided a soundtrack for universal freedom. As an artist he and the arkestra expanded ideas of origin history and put into practice a mode of expression rooted in communal joy, liberation philosophy, and mysticism.

What excites you most about this event? 
Having the opportunity to create and display a contemporary performance piece as shxmxn. We are always honored to be part of events curated by and at The Cedar.


Steve Hirsh

Who are you, and what project are you playing with as part of the Cosmo Sun Connection event? 

Steve Hirsh, and I’m playing with Le Voyage (with Donald Washington, Matt Trice and Dick Studer) 

What does Sun Ra mean to you?

First, there's the pure joy of his music. That's the primary thing. Beyond that, Sun Ra is about having your vision and being true to it. His music was unique - you can hear the influences, but what came out in the end was Sun Ra, and his unique spirit. We're lucky to have his music, and lucky to have the example

What excites you most about this event? 

It says something important that our community has chosen to honor Sun Ra. I'm looking forward to hearing what all the ensembles bring to this event. And I'm looking forward to making our offering to Sun Ra's spirit and the freedom and commitment he inspired.


Queen Drea

Queen Drea

Who are you, and what project are you playing with as part of the Cosmo Sun Connection event?

I'm Queen Drea - 2017 Minnesota Emerging Composer award winner. I'm a vocalist, performance and soundscape artist who's pieces are often conceived under the fertile soil of improvisational settings.  Some of my work has centered on depression in the black community, and the loss of black men's lives in America, and the power of black women. i've also created commissioned work composing soundscapes for Ananya Dance Theater, Black Label Movement and more recently sound design for Penumbra Theater's production of "For Colored Girls", and "The Great Divide at Pillsbury House Theater. My work is always Afrocentric as I've been investigating some thoughts on Black Love.. and how it is strong enough to withstand being denied but never will be.   

I will be conjuring up some Black Girl Magic during the band changes channeling my inner Sun Ra as well as singing in Dameun Strange's Temple of the Nu.

What does Sun Ra mean to you? 

Sun Ra is the ultimate in self expression and exploration into sight and sound. He's a kindred spirit in rejection of the norm.

What excites you most about this event? 

I can't wait to  hear each group's embodiment of Sun Ra infused with their own musical and lyrical prowess.  I imagine an euphoric evening!


The Cedar and KFAI Present

COSMO SUN CONNECTION: Celebrating the Life & Musical Legacy of Sun Ra

Featuring Queen Drea, Dameun Strange, Kahil Brewington, Stephanie Watts, Temple of the Nu, Davu Seru, George Cartwright, Liz Draper, Chris Gray, Charlie Parr, shxmxn, and more.

Saturday May 25th, 2019 / Doors: 7:00 PM / Show: 8:00 PM

All Ages

$15 General Admission

This is a seated show. General Admission tickets are available online, by phone, at Electric Fetus, and The Cedar during shows.