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#iamDJ celebrates International Women's Day with bumper All Dayer

#iamDJ celebrates International Women’s Day with bumper All Dayer
Auntie Maureen

Politically, economically, environmentally the world, as we Westerners know it, is in the middle of a giant black-and-white clusterfuck.  Huzzah!

Because as a result the zeitgeist is shifting, bystanders are mobilising, binary ideologies are crumbling, nasty women are marching the streets, pussies are grabbing back and during the month of March we are pledging to #BeBoldForAction for International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month 2017. Still, only one calendar month for respecting, appreciating and loving your women for all their amazing economic, political and social achievements is hardly enough time to squeeze all those fun celebrations in, right?  After all, women have been partying for years!

Anita Sarko (RIP), a contemporary of David Mancuso, was there, partying in 1979 in New York, crafting together kaleidoscopic DJ sets at the Mudd Club and Danceteria.  Sharon White broke down doors at all gay parties in the Big Apple during the same era.  She played at Studio 54, Limelight, The Warehouse and was the first woman to play at The Saint and the only women to play alongside Larry Levan at The Paradise Garage.  Yes.  There was a woman DJ, equally legendary.  Being championed by Nina Kraviz and finally breaking through internationally, K.Hand has been producing, remixing, engineering and playing techno for decades at Detroit parties as one of the best and most experienced alongside her better known male peers (check out her seminal 1996 album ‘On A Journey’).

In the UK, Smokin Jo has since her early 90s rave days been occupying international DJ booths at places such as Space, Ibiza and Panorama Bar, Berlin.  And her music jacks!  Austria’s finest is without a doubt techno DJ and producer Electric Indigo who founded the female:pressure network back in 1998.  The question she asked when she created her international database of electronic and digital artists, cultural workers and researchers was ‘why are there so few women active in the electronic music scene’?  Where is their party at?

Those party stories are being rewritten.  In the last couple of years women have gathered their music and their energies in collective spaces for learning music technology, for sharing industry contacts and for partying to women-identified DJs playing women-produced electronic dance music.  A parallel party economy is brewing.  These spaces and line-ups are far from contrived novelty events or token gestures for a bit of titillation but are instead actively organised and owned by women and gender-queer connoisseurs in electronic music themselves.  Lots of happy stuff has been said already of NY collective DiscWoman, Berlin’s Room4 Resistance and London’s SIREN collective and now more platforms and spaces are emerging in London, guaranteeing some of the musically most authentic parties in London.

#iamDJ is one of the collective forces.  Under the motto ‘amplifying gender parity in DJ culture’ this Community Interest Company is grabbing back by making noise on behalf of London-based nasty women and queer DJs, producers and party promoters.  To celebrate International Women’s Day 2017 #iamDJ is bringing together 7 DJs from across different party scenes for a good ol’ fashioned alldayer at The BBE Store in London Fields this Sunday.

The women on the #iamDJ bill have each spun their own musical histories already, adding quality contributions to the soulful as well as electronic London club landscape.  Cyndi from Handson Family is an outspoken force South of the river, having co-founded Brixton music and lifestyle store United80 and running the No Long Ting block party jams each summer with UK rapper Ty.  Stav B came to DJing as part of her art practise as photographer, video and performance artist.  Collecting and playing records is now one of her creative methodologies, as is evident from her monthly collage radio shows on Reel Rebels Radio.  Michelle Manetti from electronic female-run blog Lipstick Discois currently THE go-to promoter in London for throwing parties with stellar women line-ups.  Her events Fèmmme Fraîche and Pitch Slap have billed internationals such as Smokin Jo, Hannah Holland and Honey Dijon.

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Ginger Fizz is a relative newcomer to the vintage music scene but her trademark 45s-only DJ sets of American singles from the 50s and 60s have already earned her the limelight at Somerset House and the BFI Festival.  If DJs are called legends for their lifetime’s contribution to London DJ culture then Marcia Carr is one.  This DJs DJ’s story spans 30 years of soulful house, broken beat and jazz as a dancer, music PR agent, club promoter, DJ and broadcaster on Mi-Soul Radio.  Her monthly vinyl-only women DJ parties Girlz B Like are Sunday’s best kept dancing secret.

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DJ GG likes to crate dig and it was on one of those prowls while in New York that she met Pete Adarkwah from BBE Records who offered her a job in his new shop The BBE Store, home to the #iamDJ Alldayer.  She is a collector with an old music soul carrying the torch for millennial vinyl lovers.  Bringing this rich line-up together as well as fundraising on behalf of the Women and Girls Network at the International Women’s Day Alldayer is myself, Auntie Maureen, Creative Director, curator and selector for #iamDJ. I’ve brought together the in-store party with the DJs, venue partners The BBE Store and The Institute of Light and Real House Radio which will be broadcasting each set from 12pm – 6pm.  Embracing this year’s theme for International Women’s Day #BeBoldForChange, collectively these music lovers are playing to make the DJ booth and the dancefloor a better place, for everyone.

Join us this Sunday down at The BBE store, full details here.