Let’s face it. Staten Island isn’t really a borough that most would connect with having a hugely diverse cultural heritage. In recent years, the fifth borough of NYC has been mocked and misunderstood in the media repeatedly for its connection to ridiculous characters on certain reality shows (that shall not be named). But behind all of that, there lies a group of local DJs and inspiring personalities, ready bring the bubbling, rich global culture that has been hidden on Staten Island to the surface with a new monthly dance party: ISLA.
And is Staten Island ready for a night of “tropical-city-global-sounds”?
“It’s everywhere,” says Nati Linares, one of the organizers of ISLA. ”I walk down my block and I’m hearing corridos at the grocery store in Little Mexico, Italian songs at the Pizzeria, Liberian kids rapping on the street and Sri Lankan music at the buffet. What we’re working to pioneer [in S.I] is breaking down the walls between us, within us and ahead of us.”
This new party at The Full Cup will showcase local resident DJs DJ Reagonomics and GLNJR, who have each made a mark on the NYC global music scene, from the #FUTUREROOTS showcases at SOB’s, to nights at Brooklyn fave, Bembe.
“One is dedicated to the fast-paced newness of modern digital world music genres (Reaganomics) and one dedicated to preserving and celebrating soul traditions from all over the globe who is building a local audio empire,” says Linares. “That old and new vision is what ISLA is about.”
Although it is beginning as just a party, Linares and her team have ambitions of ISLA helping to bring together neighborhoods, build a strong organic identity, and serve as “ a meeting place for all these voices.” We know that there’s probably no better way to bond with a new friend than with a sweaty dance, and partiers can look forward to ISLA hosting DJs from across the country that are ready to spread the love of global music.
“I want people to look around the room and not necessarily just see or hear themselves,” Linares says. “I want people to feel safe to explore themselves, to hear something they know mashed together with something they may not know, but that their hips can’t deny. The joy in the discomfort and discovery- that’s where the connection and understanding happens.”