3 Latina DJs You Should Be Listening to Instead of Uproot Andy

By Jordan Bosiljevac

A friend of mine was recently at a bar in New York City, when she met a nice white guy who bought her a drink and wanted to talk to her about music. After a few drinks, he humbly outed himself as Uproot Andy, DJ from Toronto, Canada, and based out of Brooklyn. She called to tell me about this because one of our favorite songs is an Uproot Andy remix of a song originally by the panamanian dancehall duo Los Rakas (based out of Oakland).

It was weird. I have seen his name all over so many tracks by black and brown artists, and it just didn’t occur to me that this would be a white man. This isn’t to discount his music or talent, but it is to highlight the fact that some of the biggest names in electronic music right now–artists like Diplo, Uproot Andy, and Snakeships, get a lot of credit for remixing black and brown music.

Their success highlights a divide in creative labor in the U.S. music industry–as white DJs profit off of black, Asian and latinx music. It is also indicative of the whitening of the music industry. Remixes of  black and brown musical styles often make them more palatable to a white audience. It is also no secret that the most famous electronic DJs are overwhelmingly white men, which we know is never an accident.

With all of this in mind, it is important now and again to explore soundcloud and bandcamp to get a dose of women and POC DJs who are creating interesting and bumping beats that come from their own communities. Below are three latina DJs I love who are making mixes that are at the intersection of new digital music technology and latinx music traditions. There are, of course, hundreds of more artists from various communities that are also creating amazing stuff, and that is why this is only the tip of the POC women’s DJ iceberg.

  1. Maracuyeah Collective:
  • Who are they: The Maracuyeah collective was started by Dj Mafe and Dj rAt in Washington, DC. According to their website, the collective was begun as “a project cultivating DC events that remix and criss-cross cultures, with a mixtape-style Pan-Latin-to-the-Future sound that shakes crowds, and mixes in traditional & popular tropical rhythms they grew up with.”
  • Why I love them: The ‘Pan-Latin to-the-future’ beats found in Dj Mafe and DJ rAt’s mixes are from all over Latin America–dabbling in most everything from electronic cumbia to dancehall.  I love the way they pay homage to so many parts of latin musical culture, remixing sad latinas like Carla Morrison, Mexican mariachi, event reggaeton and perreo from the Caribbean.
  • Give it a listen:

2. Precolumbian:

  • Who are they: Precolumbian is a queer peruvian DJ based in Philadelphia. If you are into more traditional electronic music tradition, full of drops and sick beats, Precolumbian is the experimental metal DJ for you. She said in an interview on vimeo that her music is “a sort of collective healing through movement” because “sometimes the club isn’t the safest space for a queer or a woman,” and she seeks to change that.
  • Why I love them: Precolumbian really does bring the artistic side of electronic music to the table as she works with latin beats, drops, and sometimes justic straight up noise. Her soundcloud bio is simply “#diasporafeels”–and her disconnected, sometimes harsh mixes reflect the confusing experience of being ‘ni de aquí, ni de allá’ (not from here, nor from there).
  • Give it a listen:

3. Riobamba:

  • Who are they: Riobamba is an Ecuadorian-Lithuanian DJ from Brooklyn who makes beats “Drawing inspiration from her hybrid diaspora roots, borderless digital dialogue, and bodega soundtracks,” according to her Soundcloud Bio. As an activist, Riobamba “reconstructs stories of migration and displacement to build out her own club rituals” (also from her bio).
  • Why I love them: To be honest, Riobamba’s beats are really hot. They’re awesome to dance to, but they come with all of Riobamba’s experience in electronic music as a tool of resistance theory (She studied digital music in Colombia on a fullbright). What’s not to love?
  • Give it a listen:

For more listening, Remezcla has a pretty good finger on the pulse of this particular scene, this article is a great place to start. Happy banda-cumbia-perreo-bachata-wining, compañerxs.