Artist Catalog

Armen Ra


Armen Ra

Armen Ra is an American artist and performer of Iranian-Armenian descent.

Born in Tehran, Iran, he was raised by his mother, a concert pianist, and his aunt, an opera singer and Ikebana master. Ra and his mother left Tehran in 1978 just before the Revolution, while he was in his mid teens. Ra's only instrument is the theremin, which he taught himself to play. His music fuses Armenian folk influences with modern instrumentation, along with melodic lounge standards and classical arias. His concerts are known for their combination of both visual arts live music.

Ra has played at The United Nations, Wiener Konzerthaus Mozartsaal Vienna, CBGB's, Knitting Factory, La MaMa E.T.C., Joe's Pub, Boulder Museum of Modern Art, Lincoln Center, The Gershwin Hotel, B.B. King Museum, and Dietch Projects. He has been featured on and appeared in: CNN, HBO, MTV, VH1, Vogue, The New York Times, The New York Post, The Village Voice, Rolling Stone, and Glamour.

He has performed and recorded with various bands and on many projects (including a collaboration with British recording artist Marc Almond (of Soft Cell), on the song "My Madness & I" from his 2010 release, Varieté). His debut solo CD, Plays the Theremin (released on Bowl & Fork Records in 2010) showcases many Classical Armenian laments and folk songs, representing both Armen's heritage and his very first musical influence. He has a cameo appearance in the film Party Monster.

He currently resides in Hollywood, California.

In October 2010, Ra appeared as a guest judge on the Logo Network show The Arrangement

He toured as the opener for Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds's Grinderman on their 2010 tour.

Ra performed on the Sharon Needles album PG-13 on the Ministry cover track "Everyday is Halloween".

In 2014, he played the theremin for Voltaire's album Raised by Bats.

2016 saw the release of the When My Sorrow Died, a documentary on Armen Ra.