“53 years ago this week, ‘96 Tears‘ by ? and The Mysterians rose to #1 on the pop charts. This week on Studio 360, the roots of American punk are traced back to Detroit in this brand new American Icons piece produced by Jocelyn Gonzales and Pedro Rafael Rosado, with Rob St. Mary, Ralph Valdez, Mary Cobra, New York Times’ Jon Pareles, and help from Patrick Grant and WDET 101.9FM.” (27 min.)
This week on Public Radio International’s STUDIO 360:
I speak with Jon Pareles, chief pop music critic for the NY Times, about the History of Audio Effects in Pop Music over the last 60 years in a segment hosted by Kurt Andersen and produced by Jocelyn Gonzales.
Back in your school daze, the science club and the orchestra kids might have worked opposite ends of the school hallway. But we met someone who belonged to both cliques as a kid, and grew up to have careers in both disciplines.
Mark Branch is an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. He showed us around the facilities he supervises in the electromagnetic test section, where he prepares instruments and satellites for launch into outer space.
But as DJ Scientific, Mark is also one of the most sought after nightclub DJ’s on the DC circuit, and he’s moving into producing hip hop music in his own studio.
I produced a quick profile of Mark for PRI’s Studio 360, the arts and culture show on public radio.
Now you know, we are great admirers of our friend Elan Vytal, who also goes by the name of DJ Scientific. I’m not sure who started using the handle first, but wouldn’t it be great if we could get these two to make some noise in the same room?
For the last 12 years, Basement Bhangra, the monthly dance-party at S.O.B’s, has enjoyed a reputation as one of the most exciting, beloved, ethnically and musically diverse events in New York City nightlife. At the center of it all is the renowned DJ Rekha, who fuels the enthusiastic Basement crowd with a mixture of bhangra (Punjabi folk music originating from India and Pakistan), hip-hop, dance hall rhythms from Jamaica and the U.K., live MC’s and dhol players, plus video mixing. Long before mainstream rap started sampling Indian tunes, or reality show contestants bopped onstage to “Jai Ho”, DJ Rekha spearheaded South Asian music’s introduction to the NY club scene, establishing herself as a dance music innovator.
I first met Rekha around 7 years ago, after I went to Basement for the first time and wanted to profile the event for Studio 360. I remember being nervous about waking up a DJ before noon to do a radio interview, but she was gracious and laid-back about it all. She described how Basement Bhangra started, and talked about her desire to change the pre-conceptions about her community and its culture through the power of music. You can listen to that piece from the 360 archive RIGHT HERE. There’s also a great package about Rekha that CNN did a little while back:
After a whirlwind summer of festival touring (Tulsa, Lake Tahoe, Madison, Chicago, Cleveland, etc), Rekha was back in New York last week. Since her whole career started “the hard way”, with learning to DJ on turntables, we chatted with her about how lap-top technology has changed the art of rocking the decks. You can hear what she told us right here:
Over the years, DJ Rekha’s star has continued to rise and she stays busy. She launched a second monthly party called Bollywood Disco through her production company, Sangament; she produced a satellite radio show to broadcast her sets to a global audience; and she arranged the music for Bridge and Tunnel, the Obie-Award winning Off-Broadway show. She was an NYU Asian/Pacific/American Artist in Residence and she lectures at the Clive Davis School of Recorded Music. I’m also proud to mention that Rekha and I were co-associate producers for the radio documentary, Feet In Two Worlds: Immigrants in a Global City, back in 2005. Last year, she released her first record, DJ Rekha Presents Basement Bhangra, which featured collaborations with Wyclef Jean, Panjabi MC, and Bikram Singh among others. That’s available on iTunes and you should go download it now, if you don’t have it.
We’re honored that DJ Rekha will be joining us to close out the MMiX Festival on October 11th. So go ahead and bust out those Slumdog moves – we know you’ve been itching to try them out. 🙂