Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dub Mission 2012 + pirates on the borders

I'm always thrilled to return to San Francisco and see all the lovely people there, eat really well and enjoy some foggy sunset moments. And it's even better when I get to combine it with intellectual AND musical excitement.

This week I'll be presenting at this panel at the American Anthropological Association's annual meeting: PIRACY, PROPERTY, AND POSSESSION: CULTURAL PRODUCTION AND CIRCULATION AS BORDER-CROSSINGS which brings together discussions of Somali pirates, Samba bootleg culture, Jamaican street dance DVDs, hackers and more. Super excited.

And then on Sunday, I'm on the decks at Dub Mission, San Francisco's venerable Jamaican Bass Music heartbeat.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hearts and minds and booties

So this happened. And I think this might be my favorite instance of being cited (that I know of) ever.

This was for the Dalhousie U. Feminist Law Association in Halifax, Nova Scotia's birthday party to commemorate the equality provisions in Canada's Charter of Rights & Freedoms.

The work of mine that they are probably drawing on is this article I wrote on music and politics, or the panel I did with the amazing Dj Ushka at the Allied Media Conference, which is all inspired by my Dj experiences of the past 16 years and my research on Jamaican dance/music traditions that I talk about in videos like this one at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Listening Spaces at CMU - preliminary thoughts

I'm a fan of Pittsburgh. I like industrial cities and  I feel a strong connection to the rust belt, even though I grew up a Yankee in Boston. Not because of some ruin porn fetishism, but I like the scrappy reminders of a strong labor movement and working-class pride (my mother's family were mostly labor organizers in the midwest and California), I like the lack of pretension, and I like the drive of outsiders to do good, weird, extreme, out-there art when there is no network of media hype to support you or sponsor you, only space, lots and lots of space.

And then there is the great engine of CMU and the other universities, that have brought a bit of a tech boom, but without the media-centric hype of NY (which I like but can be tiring) or the silicon valley libertarian fantasyland which occasionally got a bit wearing in the Bay Area.

I've dj'd there a couple of times, at the Garden of Earthly Delights, and I was lucky enough to speak at Dorkbot (co-sponsored by the Studio for Creative Inquiry) as well. (Video of that talk is here, and check a review of that whole weekend here).  Through those conversations I met some more great people at CMU, through whom now I am thrilled to be invited to return for this awesome project.
The Listening Spaces project is part of an ongoing interdisciplinary research grant at the university where people are exploring how people encounter music, from the perspective of the listener. For folks who have followed my work, you will not be surprised that I'm happy about the emphasis on the audience (rather than the  artist) and on the space in which people engage with music.

I'm going to be discussing and developing some concepts that come out of my research on Jamaican music-making and also my own experience as a DJ. One of my central concerns, these days, is about exactly this event's title: what is the space in which people listen to music? What defines that space? what are the political and social implications of how those spaces are defined?

Although listening includes being alone with sound, my work focuses most on the social spaces where people engage with music, especially people who are not privileged as artist, owners or creators in the legal sense. Fans, dancers, audiences - these are what makes a scene, makes a culture, makes a movement, make a genre (for better or for worse - witness how the changing fandom changed the meaning of the term 'dubstep'). How people hear music can't be separated from the context in which they encounter it and what they bring to that context - listening is a constructive and productive --and maybe sometimes a destructive process... It's this last concept that I want to explore in this talk - what do specific music scenes and culture gain and lose from wider availability and wider reach, especially as networked technology opens up those scenes in new ways? What's the difference between publicity and surveillance? here, I'm not focusing as much on the politics of appropriation, branding, marketing etc, instead I'm attending to the role of law and corporations in profiling, surveilling and tracking creative communities and practices. As people's lives are increasingly networked via technology that can track and report, what does this mean about the kind of creative intimacy that may be necessary for cultures to flourish?

Come through and help me work it out, or follow along online or elsewhere (I hope for livetweeting of this event - it is free and open to the public, too).

Monday, October 08, 2012

Rubin Museum

Up next: playing Central Asian, Himalayan, South Asian and other musics at the K2 Lounge in New York City at the Rubin Museum of Art. Please come through and enjoy drinks and small plates and the exhibits at the museum (entrance is free) while I play a mainly chill, atmospheric kind of set.

Although my set ranges pretty widely across anything that could be considered Himalayan and central Asian, I thought I'd mention that it's been a pleasure to explore what little I have so far found out of the Central Asian music scene.

One of the names that reached me most easily is Monâjât Yultchieva (Munadjat Yulchieva is one alternate spelling among many). Womad, the international festival circuit, BBC world music curators and the like have contributed to the forces that bring her music to people like me poking around online for gorgeous voices. She sings classical Uzbek and Persian-language music, including some sufi poetry.

I'd love to know more of this music, and more of the pop music from the region as well. Through this gig I have been lucky to meet some very nice Tajik/Uzbek people, folks who come up when they hear the music I'm playing .. it's really lovely to see people get happy to hear music from home that that they associate with family and history and something positive.

Sadly Uzbek people at home are currently facing many terrible political, social and economic struggles (that the US and the West are not separated from aw heck the US has actively supported) and I don't pretend to have much useful to say about that. But it reminds me why it's important to be thoughtful about context: when you pull out the music, sometimes the history comes with it.  I was reminded, in researching Uzbek music just a little, why it is important to do the research.

As someone who loves music and wants to use music to connect to people and welcome them, the more I know about the music the better, so I can be more sure I'm doing what I want to be doing with the music. Just last week a blogger for the Atlantic posted a video of a pop song performed by "Googoosha" who apparently is the daughter of the president of Uzbekistan. The video looks pretty cool, it takes place in Bukhara and features some acrobatic Parkour among other things. But as some very polite commenters point out, the woman who is featured as the artist is possibly the most hated woman in Uzbekistan, who profits greatly and continually from her father's violent, corrupt, secretive, regime based on government-forced child labor. I wouldn't want to play music that valorized or reminded folks from there of that aspect of Uzbekistan, if I had the choice. (Actually I'm now wondering about all that beautiful Ikat patterned fabric that is part of the "tribal patterns" rage these days -- although it looks like a large percentage of the world's raw cotton is produced by government-forced labor in Uzbekistan..) So anyway I'm leaving out Googoosha from my sets. I'm glad there seems to be a lot of other beautiful sounds to choose from.

I don't know so much background on Yulchieva, only what's out there in English or easily translateable French, but she seems to be linked to a classical tradition that many people feel good about within and outside of Uzbekistan. The other pop, for the most part, I can't find much context for, but at least no explicit links to any regime (as far as I can tell without being able to understand the languages, of course). Here are some tunes that I have been enjoying playing.. feel free to add more context or links to music or places to buy it or download it in the comments!

More pop sounding to me is Go'zal Shaydo,  I like this one especially.

And many of the musics and languages seem to overlap. Shaydo sings some songs that are identified as "Tajik song by Uzbek singer" Here's a Tajik song (apparently) I quite like too..

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Munchi turns down $50,000 from Azealia Banks/Diplo/Interscope on principle

Edited to add one thing (for all the new visitors). Hi. This is a personal blog. I wrote this up quickly because I thought Munchi's actions were worthy of note and signal boosting, and I wanted to list a few interesting things about it. If you want examples of more formal writing you can look here (Viewpoint Magazine on music and radical politics), here (in Columbia Journal of Law and the Arts article on copyright and free jazz improvisation), here (A post for DC public interest IP lobbying group Public Knowledge on Odetta and folk traditions). For examples of other blogs by people who mix scholarship/musicianship/activism/art/ try Wayne, DeniseAram, AliLuis, Anne, the crunkfeministcollective.

The dance music producer Munchi, who is a Dominican-Dutch producer born and raised in Rotterdam, was collaborating with Azealia Banks/Diplo on some tracks. However,  it looks like someone in that team repeatedly leaked his tracks even after he asked them not to. This means that they repeatedly included his work without his permission and publicized his name on things without asking him first. For the an upcoming video of his track Esta Noche featuring Banks, when he publicly reminded them he hadn't consented to their using the song, they eventually offered him $50,000 to use the track, which was double what they had originally offered. He turned it down.

His summary of the situation:
"What is childish is the fact that I got disrespected 11 times in total and still they thought it was ok to just give me a sum of money for my integrity. You get buyed off for their disrespect and call it a day. Each time they told me something and put out something that was not discussed. In the end trying to blame me for something she put up in error by stating that this release could not be out today since I think she is in the Illuminati. I had to do this after the great amount of patience I've shown. The Interscope problem solver dude was actually pretty cool, I never talked to Azealia or her management, every time they would get me in contact with someone higher in Interscope. This is Interscope we are talking about. What's up with this bitchshit. I am supposed to say "Oh, I'll have to accept Azealia's behaviour since she is an artist and can do whatever she wants." Not happening. The reason why I did not reply to any of the Tweets is simple: I cannot blame the crowd for their ignorance in this situation. 1 thing that you do have to know is that I will always try to be straigt up and be real with it. I tried, but got disrespected every single time."
 Photo by Corinne Haxton
While I may not use the same language as Munchi, I respect the essence of  his response. I don't know if the disrespect is coming from Banks or Diplo or some combination of them, but it's not often we see someone turn down that kind of money publicly, on principle. That alone deserves a signal boost - with all the tv shows and stories we see of people who are so desperate they will do anything for money it's nice to see someone turning it down.

Looking at the comments on the hiphopdx article, some of the most depressing criticisms of Munchi are that he is a nobody and thus he should just shut up and be thankful to take the money. This argument is pretty sad: so, less famous people deserve to be disrespected by famous people and should be grateful if they get a check afterwards? Money outweighs insults --and that the insulter, or some bystander gets to decide the rate? These comments announce a pretty sad world-view from the commenter, including a pretty low image of themselves, if they see themselves as less-famous people too. If I were them I'd be embarrassed.

On the issue of fame, Munchi is a big name in some electronic dance music circles (including many of the awesome ones that I like to hang out/play with) although I don't think he makes a ton of money. But he has the kind of indie/underground cred that Diplo has made a career out of collaborating with/exploiting. So Munchi's music was a smart choice for Banks, whoever made the link. It really does look like business as usual with respect to Diplo, since it's a pattern he's engaged with many times before. If so, even with all his money (Blackberry sponsorship,  label support, etc), he apparently still can't afford to respect less famous (less rich, less white) artists on their own terms. Or doesn't care to. Or else it's Banks that can't or doesn't care to.

I am sick of talking about Diplo, he's just business as usual. In a way, it's nothing new here, we all know the debates, I hope. (Business as usual being global colonial capitalism where the powerful exploit the less powerful.) For me, the point is that everyone who works collaboratively with other humans, especially when there are differentials in power, should think about how they collaborate and not act like exploitative jerks --this depends partly on what your position, i.e. if you have a lot of money it's on you to make an extra effort on behalf of people who have less, if for no other reason than you can definitely afford to. But seriously, if an artist specifically says they don't want something to be done with their stuff what good reason is there to do it anyway (there might be one in some cases, but that still requires thinking about it).

Apparently Banks is ok with this behavior whether it came from her or not. Her response on twitter was not impressive: glossing over the real issue and make fun of Munchi's language. It's not like she isn't capable of understanding what Munchi is mad about. However, she doesn't mention that and instead pretends it's about something stylistic. I'd be curious to hear more sides of it but so far it seems like a familiar story, I'm just sad to see Banks behaving this way.

Munchi gives away a lot of his music for free, which I appreciate. But looks like he doesn't want to contribute his name and his sound to people who don't respect him. I like Munchi's work, and he has shown some interesting depth on issues in the past (especially for a young cisguy in the electronic dance music scene). Sure it's probably easier for him to stand on principle than someone in a more vulnerable position, but from what I see of the situation I like the spine he's showing here.

Here's more of Munchi's music on Soundcloud

And a video I like especially because it has his mom in it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Speaking at Olin College, MA tomorrow (Tuesday) Sept 25

Just coming down after the amazing experience of working behind the scenes at the Beyond The Block festival this saturday. That experience was me and my comrades (dare I call'em) working out one of the other ways to engage politically with music, practicing what I tried to preach in my piece on protest music I wrote for Viewpoint magazine.

I'm on my way to Boston next, to give a talk at an engineering college. Full info below.

Technology & Culture Seminar Series

Larisa MannWho: Dr. Larisa K.Mann, legal ethnographer, journalist, public speaker and award-winning DJ
What: When the wrong side is the right side : the harms of digital inclusion
When/Where: Tuesdeay, September 25, 2012 @ 6:00 pm – Olin College, Academic Center, Rm 126 (iCal)
Topic Abstract: The “digital divide” sounds like a terrible thing to be on the wrong side of. Lacking access to technology and information does seem to put you at a disadvantage compared to others who have greater access. Being invisible and uncountable also seems a weak position from which to struggle towards success. But what dictates the terms of participation in these brave new networks of participation and self-expression? Can remaining disconnected from or invisible to networked technology and information management systems be a wiser choice? While these days Anonymous and the Darknet are perhaps the most familiar (and threatening) examples of strategic advantages to invisibility, there are other examples that connect these questions to ongoing struggles within our society and beyond. Whether designing a system to meet the needs of a particular community or deciding on the default definition of privacy, we need to take account of the costs as well as benefits of connection. We don’t design in a vacuum: so we need to look at the context for the technology to understand its effects.
In this talk, I’ll draw on two examples. First, looking at Jamaican musical practices in Kingston, Jamaica, I’ll describe how their remaining outside of and invisible to global institutions allowed them cultural and economic independence. Next, I’ll discuss how the cultural practices of an Australian Aboriginal community required that designers challenge their own assumptions about quality and efficiency. Overall I will discuss how the goals like “solving the digital divide” or “better search and archiving of materials” can place vulnerable people and communities at risk.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

And.. MONDAY the 17th

I'm super happy to be invited to take over the decks for the amazing MPEACH while she is touring in Venezuela with Geko Jones.

Candelation is a monday monthly at the ever-delightful Bembe. This is seriously the nicest bar in Williamsburg - it's comfortable, softly lit, there are couches along the side, people make a dancefloor down the middle when the party gets hopping. The bartenders are friendly and the bar is well-stocked with the kinds of tasty tropical juices that make this nondrinker very happy, as well as those who like mixed drinks with names not in English. I'm there from 10pm-4am so come through any time and soak up the vibe!

I just got confirmation of the show recently and so I whipped up a little flyer, extremely low budget but it conveys the relevant info.

Friday, September 14, 2012

TONIGHT (Friday the 14th)

I'm super excited for my gig tonight. Joro Boro and I have had many an awesome conversation, and have played at the same events before, but this is his latest monthly party and I've enjoyed every one I went to, so I'm thrilled to be a part of it.

Also, we picked a theme which allows me to bring out some music I've been messing with but haven't felt was right for the many other awesome gigs I have been playing. I just reunited with my vinyl record collection, among which are about 500 jungle records which I have been saying hello to, bemusing my neighbors.

Jungle is popping up again in some of the new bass music sounds and sets, epsecially that post-dubstep whatever (amens lurked around in dubstep for a while, but both the ravey and percussive side opened up more space). I've never stopped dropping jungle in my sets, but it's true that the bpms and the atmospheric, epic and gothic aspects of some of the night musics I'm hearing are perfectly set up for jungle. The rise of footwork (coming out of or alongside Juke) only makes this more clear - with the Philip D Kick jungle/footwork remixes last year making things more explicit. I love them, but they also reminded me that the originals are still totally amazing. So, tonight:

Juke & Jungle at BASTRDZM,
Casa Mezcal (Lower East Side) we are rocking the basement and it's FREE
86 Orchard Street, New York, New York 10002

RSVP here

and be ready for some extreme sounds..

More on music, politics, why white activists often fail at connecting the two

I wrote a thing for Viewpoint magazine extending some of the issues Thanu (Dj Ushka) Yakupitiyag and I raised in the workshop “radical organizing from the dancefloor” at the Allied Media Conference

Links to InciteFierceleonineantiheroinerevolutionarycriesinfrontantcenter, some of the many many people, especially queer women of color, who have been having these conversations for a while. Points made in my piece have been made by them, and many others, in relation to twerking, dancehall, club music, nightlife etc. I add to it my own experiences and what I learned during my research and time spent in Jamaica learning from people there about what musicking meant and did for them.

Re-using the title from my old mix was too good to resist (although I wish I could have made a new mix especially for this, maybe next time), anyway, here it is: To the party members, thanks to Viewpoint for giving me the platform.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Politics of bootyshaking

I was just in this great conversation on Twitter with a slew of interesting dj/producer/event promoters. Even though some of them kept saying twitter is a bad place to talk about this - a lot of really smart stuff got said and I think people reading probably learned a lot. I don't think public debate is necessarily going to change the minds of the person you are debating (if you see it as a debate), but I DO think it can reach out to the much larger audience of people reading the debate/discussion, and it can affect them. I am really glad that people have these kinds of conversations publicly!

I am also glad that there are so many people I know across the country and the world who are working towards the utopia mentioned at the end. It makes for some kick-ass parties!

  1. bo_bliz
    RT @uncle_quincy: I know hipsters love watching black ppl act like idiots but based on these pics I've seen from last night I'm going to say this.....
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 06:09:30
  2. uncle_quincy
    I'm not gonna sit there while you laugh at that dumb ass shit.
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 05:22:38
  3. JustJubilee
    @uncle_quincy @bo_bliz what does that even mean?
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 06:10:52
  4. bo_bliz
    @JustJubilee @uncle_quincy just hating on NPR rap and the people that go to the shows to "twerk" and ogle black freaks
    bo bliz
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 07:05:33
  5. bo_bliz
    @uncle_quincy @justjubilee #letthemcook #letthemwobble #letthemgetmoneyforbananasplit not hating on artist at all
    bo bliz
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 07:15:40
  6. emynd
    @bo_bliz @JustJubilee @uncle_quincy there's always gonna be dumb white ppl, but on the whole, I think exposure to that world has been good
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 07:17:07
  7. JustJubilee
    @emynd @bo_bliz @uncle_quincy I do too and honestly if it weren't for "hipsters" a lot of people wouldn't be famous and getting money. CYCLE
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 07:17:54
  8. bo_bliz
    @emynd @justjubilee @uncle_quincy I have a dream that one day there will be no dumb white people
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 07:19:12
  9. JustJubilee
    @bo_bliz @emynd @uncle_quincy hate to break it to you guys but there's dumb EVERYTHING people hahaha
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 07:19:43
  10. emynd
    @bo_bliz @JustJubilee @uncle_quincy and all that ass shaking is SUPPOSED to be a spectacle.
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 07:20:16
  11. JustJubilee
    @emynd @bo_bliz @uncle_quincy i've spent half of my life looking at ass shaking (and loving it) am I part of the problem? #305 #NOLA #booty
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 07:21:28
  12. uncle_quincy
    @emynd @bo_bliz @JustJubilee HA......I know. Still just my perspective. Not to be on some Chapelle going to Africa shit.
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 07:21:47
  13. uncle_quincy
    @JustJubilee @emynd @bo_bliz Ass wiggling has it's benefits, This I know.
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 07:22:38
  14. bo_bliz
    @uncle_quincy @emynd @justjubilee impossible and pointless to analyze all fans perspective- but def an element there that's disturbing
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 07:24:09
  15. dj_bent
    @JustJubilee @emynd @bo_bliz @uncle_quincy its complicated no? History of whitefolks using/making $ off black music. Self-reflection is good
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 07:31:55
  16. dj_bent
    RT @emynd: @uncle_quincy @bo_bliz @JustJubilee my only point is don't let the suspect way idiots consume cool shit ruin the coolness of that shit
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 07:33:15
  17. dj_bent
    @emynd @uncle_quincy @bo_bliz @JustJubilee that's good but also important to talk about power dynamics in music, party scenes

    Sat, Jul 28 2012 07:33:54
  18. dj_bent
    True But spectacle for commty vs ousiders? RT @emynd: @bo_bliz @JustJubilee @uncle_quincy all that ass shaking is SUPPOSED to be a spectacle

    Sat, Jul 28 2012 07:35:10
  19. emynd
    @dj_bent @JustJubilee @bo_bliz @uncle_quincy yeah it's definitely complicated as fuck and always worth talking about
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 07:35:48
  20. emynd
    @dj_bent who decides who the authentic community is and who the oustsiders are? And how long before outsiders become part of that community?
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 07:53:09
  21. dj_bent
    rly good question. like you say, community shifts/changes RT @emynd who decides who the authentic community is and who the oustsiders are?
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 08:02:36
  22. dj_bent
    @justjubilee @emynd @bo_bliz @uncle_quincy maybe harder to talk about in these spaces, but still important to try. just my opinion
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 08:05:09
  23. JustJubilee
    @dj_bent @emynd @bo_bliz @uncle_quincy it is but 140 characters not enough and Facebook is the worst. Let's all plan a dinner one day ;)
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 08:07:08
  24. laripley
    @emynd @dj_bent it's not just inside/outside, tho - it's who has more power. who is getting paid & who faces death and violence
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 08:07:19
  25. dj_bent
    @emynd @laripley no but the situations that create/d bounce are about poverty, racism, violence, social indifference. music is resistance
    dj bent
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 08:20:20
  26. dj_bent
    @emynd @laripley whats more considering murder rate, health indices and mortality in nola, may of them actually ARE
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 08:22:18
  27. emynd
    @dj_bent @laripley by that logic, it's the same situation in the lovely city of Philly.
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 08:25:03
  28. emynd
    @dj_bent @laripley and what's the conclusion anyway? Only poor people in danger of getting murdered can twerk their asses authentically?
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 08:30:34
  29. laripley
    @emynd @dj_bent f*ck authenticity. it's about what you're doing to & with the people/scenes you draw on
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 08:42:16
  30. laripley
    @emynd @dj_bent "raw" music comes from people who face death, violence & poverty. Rawness is a response to that reality (1)
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 08:48:07
  31. laripley
    @emynd @dj_bent so why not think on how to respect that? (2)
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 08:51:13
  32. emynd
    @laripley @dj_bent it's all about authenticity! You're asking outsiders to consider their effects on the scene but not those "in" the scene
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 09:00:37
  33. emynd
    @laripley @dj_bent buried in what youre arguing is an acceptance that there is an authentic scene community and an outsider community right?
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 09:01:25
  34. emynd
    @laripley @dj_bent I'm mostly done w/this convo. Been having it for 15+ yrs. All I can do is respect the cultures I'm involved with & I do
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 09:04:05
  35. emynd
    @laripley @dj_bent and I've been accepted by enough folks actually "in" the scenes I fucks with to feel like I'm doing alright. #theend
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 09:05:53
  36. laripley
    @emynd ur probably right! if it ain't about you dont make it about you. Plenty of ppl don't care or try to do that though
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 09:10:49
  37. laripley
    @emynd I said consider who gets paid, who suffers. Who gets paid/profits doesn't map only onto insider outsider it's more complex than that.
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 09:15:00

  38. Emynd
    @laripley no idea what you are arguing for except a utopia where everyone in the world considers the politics of their booty shaking
  39. laripley
    @emynd @dj_bent every time we have this convo in public, more people consider it than they did before, so thanks 4 bringing utopia closer!
    Sat, Jul 28 2012 09:23:59

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tom Tom Magazine interview

Tom Tom Magazine, a magazine for female drummers, had a special issue featuring female DJs a while back. It features quite a few awesome women I know and more that I wish I did, although there are of course mnay more amazing female djs than can be listed in a single magazine. Anyway, they have posted a slightly extended version of their interview with me, alongside some pictures. You can check it out here:

Ripley "off the decks" at Tom Tom Magazine.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Toneburst Reunion TODAY (Wednesday)!!

I think I went to the first Toneburst party in 1996, and by the next year I had joined this amazing collective. It set the bar very high for quality of collaborators - smarty smart people who loved good music, had a social conscience, shared profits equally and kept door fees low, every event had a message or a point, mixed-up musical styles and represented all my favorite sounds. How could you go wrong really?

Come out for our reunion, it's gonna be amazing!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

ripley & Thanu at the Allied Media Conference in Detroit!

  Thanu and I are...Detroit Bound: Allied Media Conference

This weekend, we’re in Detroit for the Allied Media Conference, a networking conference for youth organizations, anti-violence organizers, technologists, educators, media reform advocates, alternative economists, musicians, DJs, artists, and others who come together to develop new ideas and expand upon the relationships between media and justice, and explore community approaches to social change. 

There’s been a slew of discussions bubbling up online and off that involve politics, music and nightlife. It’s funny to us that these discussions often start with the assumption that politics and nightlife are different, because we have never experienced those worlds as separate, and neither do most of the communities we care about and live with. So we decided to start here from the assumption that there are already politics on the dancefloor and the questions is – how do we deal with it?

We wanted to share and start conversations around work that is meaningful to us as deejays, event planners, and organizers by discussing the relationship between activism and music– and how to explore dancefloors as sites of and for activism. What are the possibilities of challenging dominant social orders through the creation of dance space? How are certain spaces (gay ballrooms, queer dance parties, Jamaican street dances, for example) sites of resistance and how are they simultaneously valued, idealized & misused by those inside of those subcultures?  
If you’re around the AMC the next few days, stop by our session on Friday at 4pm.
Here’s a short blurb (for a more thorough descript click here): 

Radical Organizing from the Dancefloor
"You’re an activist? But you party so much!" Political activism and dancefloors – the languages don’t always overlap, neither do the people – but nightlife is key to survival and sanity for many marginalized communities. We will come up with tools to discuss nightlife with activists, the impact that cultural spaces can have, and how to embody activism on the dancefloor. Come share your favorite stories of political pleasure, failure or success on the dancefloor, and we will strategize responses to them, and other scenarios we have encountered as DJs and event planners. Location: Hilberry A (Student Center)
PRESENTERS: Larisa Mann, Surya Dub; Thanu Yakupitiyage, iBomba, Dutty Artz | #AMC2012 #raddances

You can check out all conference workshops in the program here.

We’ll keep you up to date from AMC, so stay tuned for more and follow us on Twitter: @ty_ushka and @laripley

Friday, June 08, 2012


I'm writing this in Gothenburg, Sweden. Very much enjoying the summer-in-Northern-Europe phenomenon of sunset at 11:30 pm. And tonight I'm djing with mi compa Filastine, on the first night of the Clandestino festival on their 10-year anniversary! Here's the poster you can see all over town.

I will also be giving a talk tomorrow: "Exile, resistance, occupation, music" which I am very excited about, because it's the first time I am being invited specifically to draw together the musical, political-organizing, and scholarly parts of my life. I don't live those things as separate, I see them as all the same work, but when I am asked to speak publicly it's usually only about one or two of those things in combination. But Clandestino is badass, here's the self-description:

"The festival reaches beyond multiculturalism and takes up struggle against the current variations of racism. This exists in the center of migration and diversity, and  against prevailing images of cultural difference. The project in its entirety inspires thinking about difference between groups of people radically, beyond exoticism, victimization and the demonisation of representations.
Through a genre-bending electronic intifada, posing of known and future legends, underground university talks and tantalizing imagery, Clandestino Festival has provided the possibility of another sort of heart beat."

Another sort of heart beat - this is a parallel description of my own work, if you scroll down to the bottom of this very page. Or here, saving you the trouble:

"I mix music to highlight difference rather than seamlessness. Cracking open assumptions about what people relate to – pulling out familiar songs and sounds from people’s childhood or community, and layering them with foreign, distant sounds in ways that make the familiar strange and the strange familiar. Music exists because it crosses borders, literally and figuratively. Physical borders: eardrums, walls, and legal borders: nations, zones. The best musical experiences often occur outside legal frameworks of ownership and licenses (breaking zoning laws, squatted buildings, pirate radio, hinterlands, borderlands). Although I am not always in official control of the venues in which I perform, I put myself and the audience in undeniable literal control of the space, to the point of creating a kind of solidarity of pleasure across social boundaries. My main goal is challenge the assumption that difference breeds division and distrust – instead, difference, rupture, foreign-ness is a site of conscious, open-eyed and physical pleasure."

So, you know, it's family here.
And Saturday, Filastine and Nova and I will play in Copenhagen, at Global. Come out come out?

Sadly, I couldn't line up any gigs in the Berlin area, but I do have a 3-hour layover in the clinging-to-life Tegel airport, I should be there between 9 am and 12pm if you want to meet me for breakfast, I'm rallying some troops. If anyone brings me Kurbiskernbrötchen with cheese on top  I will be about as happy as you've ever seen me.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Global Bass, Appropriation, Power, Origin Myths

here's a video of the panel I was on at the TOGETHER festival last week: "Investigating the Post-Geographic: Music and Events That Reach Beyond Traditional Cultural Borders"

Lots of interesting perspectives here, though we missed having the amazing USHKA (more on her amazing work here).

(I note they left the mics on and kept taping for 15 minutes after the panel was over. heh. what happened to "fix it in post?")

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Tonight (Thursday) and Monday (April 9)

Lots of things in the works. some visuals to tide you over

Tonight in Boston. And I'm on a panel discussion with at least half the people on this flyer, moderated by the mighty Wayneandwax, tomorrow as part of  the Together Festival.

the panel:

and Monday in Brooklyn: