Since its first edition, the Dominican Republic’s Isle of Light Festival has found a place amidst the massive, corporate events that control the island’s entertainment industry. It has successfully realized its vision of catering to local indie fans hungry for the communal experience of music festivals, while providing a professional stage for Dominican bands to shine next to their international peers.
Once again, Isle of Light is gearing up to be a high point in the Dominican music world this year. Its expertly curated lineup is diverse enough to appeal to hip-hop heads and indie rock fans alike; the fest is also bringing back its networking wing IOL PLUS, a series of workshops and panels for music industry professionals.
This year, synth pop stalwarts Crystal Castles and indie mainstays Real Estate are set to headline. But for Remezcla readers, the most exciting news is the long-awaited and unexpected return of Rita Indiana – that alone will have people talking about IOL in the days to come.
Take a minute to explore the Dominican talent set to rock the Faro de Punta Torrecilla audience on Saturday, April 1. Here’s our list of artists to watch at Isle of Light 2017.
Isle of Light hits Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on Saturday, April 1. To purchase tickets, click here.
Stereoptico crew member Bacayne is bringing his intricate hip-hop and downtempo selections to the Isle of Light stage in the form of a DJ set. Gennaro De Santis has flaunted his production skills on two EPs, the most recent being 2016’s impressive Azure Magic. Bacayne walks the line between hip-hop nostalgia and experimentation, showcasing sampling dexterity as well as a talent for programming tight rhythms. De Santis’ arrangements feel familiar but fresh; Azure Magic‘s “Crying” sounds like dad music messed up with a trap beat.
Just a few months ago, he collaborated with rapper AcentOh on the marvelously breezy track “Se te olvida?” He also recently previewed his IOL set by opening for Prefuse 73 at one of the festival’s Road Back to the Light warm-up events. Bacayne is one act we certainly won’t miss at IOL.
If you browse through Volt Phonic‘s social media accounts, you’ll find images of Greek busts, outer space fantasy worlds, and pink and purple cityscapes that scream “vaporwave ＡＥＳＴＨＥＴＩＣＳ.” But it takes just one spin of a song from Giovy Perez’s sole full-length, 2015’s Volt Phonic, to understand his work has a lot more to do with electronic pop than the Internet subculture.
Volt Phonic’s music feeds on ambient, techno, house, synth pop, and rock, resulting in verdant compositions that are ready for both the dance floor and the arena. He adorns his songs with breathy, vocoded coos and arpeggiated synths, sliding between solemnity and effortlessness. This isn’t Perez’s first time at IOL, as he brought his one-man show to the festival’s pre-party last year. This time, he’s commandeering the main stage to entertain a party-hungry crowd.
On the more traditional end of the festival’s lineup, singer-songwriter Riccie Oriach is bringing his personal brand of folky rock to el Faro de Punta Torrecilla. Gone are his punk rock days in hardcore outfit Chiget; the Quisqueya artist now wields his guitar to make songs that pay homage to the Latin American sounds he grew up with, like salsa, cumbia, and guaguancó.
Lyrically, Riccie is a skilled storyteller who narrates clever, relatable tales about island life. In 2016, he shared his first two singles, “El Mosquitero” and “La Guayaba.” Merengue, salsa, and son are all part of Oriach’s musical vocabulary, one that he built around the concept of fusion. Catch him and his band debuting this year at Isle of Light.