Through putting on events and getting people onto dancefloors, one obviously meets all kinds of people. This to me has been essential to building with people, learning, and creating stronger communities. That person I meet on a dancefloor often becomes the next person I organize with, or becomes the person who has my back in some sort of crisis situation. Amongst the many people with amazing stories I’ve met recently through organizing iBomba has been Dylan Quiroga, a 25-yr old South African living in the D.C area. For the past few months, Dylan has consistently come up to New York for tropical parties such as iBomba and Que Bajo, music scenes he feels connected to. Curious as to why Dylan would spend hours on a bus to hit up New York’s scenes, he told me that he was making the most of his time left in the U.S, because Dylan is set to be deported this coming Tuesday.

Please help stop the deportation of Dylan Quiroga

I’m an immigrant rights activist – it isn’t a surprise to me that the people who feel connected to global “tropical” music, who come and get down at these events we throw, are of all sorts of complicated immigration statuses. That’s why the nature of who is on the dancefloor is political. While these genres defy borders, many of us who feel connected to it remain limited; but the musical environments themselves, even just for a few hours, provide a means to transcend the realities of immigration and other barriers that restrict our daily lives. Stories we hear on dancefloors sometimes compel us to take action- so here’s a final push to stop Dylan’s deportation.

With only four days to go, there’s still a lot that can be done. Dylan has been working with the National Immigration Youth Alliance to challenge his case and to push Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to grant him a stay of removal (meaning to allow him to stay). This week, a rally was held in D.C to challenge his case, and there is still time to sign this petition and call the office of ICE director, John Morton, to ask that his deportation be stopped. Please take a second to call this number; it makes a huge difference.

Here’s more on Dylan’s story:

In August 2011, Dylan Quiroga, an undocumented student, was trying to see what he could of the United States and intended to travel to several cities by Greyhound bus. He wanted to go to Detroit to check out Motown museums and Detroit’s music scene. While on a bus in upstate New York, to his surprise, Immigrations Custom Enforcement (ICE) randomly made a random search, asking all the passengers if they were U.S citizens and asking for identification. Dylan, with his South African passport and expired U.S visa, was detained.

Dylan came to the U.S at the age of 17 under a dependency visa when his father moved for work. While most of his family including his father, stepmother, and teenage sister eventually received greencards, Dylan was the only who could not qualify because he was over 21 and no longer considered a dependent. Despite this complication, Dylan decided to stay and pursue his education, facing many barriers including the inability to get into a nursing program because of his status. Instead, he paid his own way through community college while working in D.C’s service industry.

I asked Dylan how he had the strength- after the trauma of being detained by ICE, and going through two court dates where the legal advice he received was that he should sign a voluntary departure form and leave for South Africa, and living under the threat of deportation- to continue enjoying music when he could. He said,

“I really wanted to appreciate and enjoy the people in this country before I left. These parties and these communities are so special and you don’t find it in a lot of places. To get all these different cultures in one place is special. I wanted to take it in and experience as much as possible. That’s why whenever I had a chance to come up to New York I would because I didn’t know when I’d get the chance to enjoy it again. This music is a way to connect people from different backgrounds, it connects our stories. It helps people identify with each other.”

I had a whole conversation with Dylan on the phone this week, where we talked about all of the connections between migration, global bass, the immigration debate in the U.S. and the politics of our daily lives. Here’s the transcript of the rest of our conversation.

In the meantime, please take a minute to support Dylan’s case by calling the numbers and signing the petition [links above].

Last month, iBomba at Bembe was on fire with a remarkable performance by Titica, Angola’s kuduro queen and first transgender performer to get international acclaim. Thanks to the collaboration with Chief Boima and Many Tribes One Blood, Titica’s performance at iBomba added to our motivation to challenge crowds and open up a space for innovative performers and DJs to collaborate and shape the dancefloor. It was also what got me in the official mix with Dutty Artz.

[Photos Above]: Titica performing at iBomba @ Bembe

I’m really proud of the intentionally chosen lineup of guest DJs we’ve had since iBomba took on Mondays at Bembe by storm this year, including DJs Chela, Itch-13 (Sonic Diaspora, Chicago), Rekha (Basement Bhangra) and Ripley (Surya Dub, SF) – who have all added a different sound and vibe to what is becoming a regularly well-attended 2nd Monday of the month.

By hosting iBomba, I’ve been able in a sense to curate the nights, purposefully highlighting dope female DJs when we can, and with Titica’s performance last month, hopefully adding to a conversation around queerness in music and performance coming out of the Global South.

There’s a lot we have brewing for the summer and beyond, so keep to date with what iBomba is up to. This Monday, May 14th, come hit the floor with us as Cluster Mag mastermind, Max Pearl, guest deejays alongside residents Beto and Mios Dio. Facebook event here. Peep the listing in Remezcla.

Cumbia meets Dancehall meets that good Global Bass.


Two months ago, I sat down with Mandip Kalsi to talk about New York’s party scene, building community through music, and the move of his Philly-based Dutty Chutney party to New York. Mandip, one of the resident deejays of Dutty Chutney expressed the intention of the party as a place to blend a variety of genres from the Caribbean to South Asia, electronic to bhangra, soca to reggae, and dancehall to hard-hitting bass. Already known in Philadelphia, we discussed how the move was the opportunity for DC to push the envelope with new guest DJs and add new flavor to New York’s nightlife.

I’d never been to DC while it was in Philly, so I got the chance to check it out last month when the homie, Geko Jones, guest deejayed the first DC in Brooklyn. Currently hosted at The Cove, I saw the music attract a diverse crowd, one that in my experience is sometimes difficult to bring out to that part of Williamsburg.

And so we’ve been talking about how to keep creating a space that attracts and challenges new crowds, and how to keep growing Dutty Chutney as it finds its niche in New York.

This Friday, guest DJ, Beto (iBomba) tears it up with residents Mandip and M-Ski. As the host of the iBomba, I’ll definitely say you don’t want to miss this Dutty Chutney vs. iBomba clash – future dancehall, future bass, future everything.