As one with a diverse musical tastes and a vast collection that began while working at a used record store in high school, I have enjoyed unique opportunities for DJing. Having frequently attended The Move, an ecstatic dance event held weekly in Toronto for many years, I entered the role of DJ and facilitator in 2009 and continued until my departure to BC in 2011. The Move allows for a wide range of musical styles programmed to create an energetic arc from gentle warm-up to a chaotic peak and back down to stillness over two hours. It is an opportunity for non-verbal, barefoot movement meditation and welcomes people of all ages and diverse cultures.
I ran my own event called Boogie Groove at a lovely new space called 80Gladstone. This happened roughly monthly in 2013 and followed a similar trajectory to The Move, with more emphasis on funk, rock and hiphop along with other music from around the globe. I invited participants to lie down and soak in the stimulating vibrations of my didgeridoo at the end of the 2-hours. I have also offered an improvised cello soundscape to bring the event to a gentle, soulful close.
I was also DJ for Medicine Groove, an ecstatic dance event at the legendary Babaluu dinner and dance club in Yorkville on Sunday, October 26th. I played live cello and didgeridoo to end the set. It was hosted by Babaluu’s owner, the lovely Nubia Solano, and dancers were invited to stay and enjoy a delicious prix fixe dinner afterward.
Michael Penarubia, the much beloved ecstatic dance DJ and I ran a series called Solar Rhythms in 2017. This was be a quarterly dance event that brought community together to set intentions in line with the solstices and equinoxes and to celebrate them with meditation, movement, music and dance. Our previous collaborations have proven to have such beautifully aligned substance with Michael on the decks with his most creative DJing together with my own contributions on a variety of live instruments (cello, didgeridoo, flute, n’goni). With a humble nod to Gary Diggins, with whom I play so many Big Beats over the years, we aimed to carry that torch now that Gary has closed that long, rich chapter. Michael and I intent to hold similar events in the near future.