Can you believe that, in the five years that we’ve been doing this podcast about Filipino American Life, somehow we have neglected to talk to a DJ about DJing?! Neither can we, especially since Producer Mike is a collector and curator of vinyl himself!
Though DJing may be as old as vinyl records themselves, the artform as we know it today really came together through the efforts of Black and Latinx pioneers, whose sound selections, skills, and techniques were rooted in long-standing rhythmic traditions and were honed for the masses in backyards, at block parties, and underground clubs. And as with many forms of popular art that originated with those communities, those styles were were adopted and adapted the world over, including by DJs in the Philippines and throughout the diaspora.
Which brings us to our guest for this episode, Les Talusan, aka Les the DJ. Based out of Piscataway Land / Washington, DC, originally from Caloocan City, Manilla, Philippines, Les Talusan is a DJ, photographer, curator, teaching artist, and organizer whose practice immerses people in the joy of discovery, empowerment, and community. And most importantly (for us anyways), Les is the opening half of our favorite weekly ritual, #OPMSundays on Twitch, where she and past (first!) guest of the podcast Joel Quizon / DJ joelquiz play Original Pilipino Music from the Philippines and throughout the diaspora.
Who are your favorite DJs? What are your favorite OPM artists and songs? Let us know by leaving a voicemail at (805) 394-TFAL or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
To learn more about some of the history of Filipinos and DJing, we highly recommend you check out Oliver Wang’s excellent book, “Legions of Boom: Filipino American Mobile DJ Crews in the San Francisco Bay Area.” Definitely also pick up “Tropical Renditions: Making Musical Scenes in Filipino America,” which we talked about all the way back on Episode 4 (!) with author and friend of the podcast Christine Bacareza Balance.