Tag Archives: Dembow


DJ Panaflex’s latest, Ponte Jevi, has broken a new personal record, surpassing 200 plays in under two weeks!


Damelo Damelo

Artist: Zutzut (Mexico City, Mexico)
Title: Jala (2015)

I first heard Zutzut in a bootleg he did of a Yaga & Mackie track. It was 2013 and I was on one of my first SoundCloud deep dives. While the album art has made it hard for me to share that one, I knew right then and there that my first mix would have to have a Zutzut track. Fast forward to 2015 and the release of this scorching stripped-down DJ tool. With its Industrial/Grime sensibility and the kind of starkness I associate with Fade to Mind or Night Slugs, it’s been showing up in the darnedest of places in the half-year it’s been out. I had so much fun speeding up the bubbling track before this one to baile funk tempo. And I just can’t get over how that dembow vocal sample gives way to tamborzão. Viva Quisqueya! Viva México! Viva Brasil!

Portland’s DJ Panaflex has been spinning the weirdest of mixes in his bedroom since late last year. We’re proud to bring you his freshmen effort, Summer is a State of Mind. At just over 50 minutes, this mix features 17 examples of why getting a midi controller and a copy of Traktor Pro was something he couldn’t put off a second longer.

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be sharing with you his notes on the tracks that make up Summer is a State of Mind.

Getting to Know Dembow

In our latest piece to promote this month’s Getting to Know You(Tube) event, we discussed the phenomenon of the Jamaican dancehall riddim. One of our favorite uses of riddims to emerge in the last decade has been in the nascent Dominican genre of music known as Dembow. Devoted fans of dancehall will immediately appreciate the scattershot referential nature of tracks like Secreto’s Ponte el Chaleco. Take, for example, this sample from 2:59 to 3:08:

Secreto el Biberón – Ponte el Chaleco


That juicy little flute riff and bassline are from none other than Santa Barbara by the legendary Sly & Robbie’s band Taxi Gang. When Taxi Gang recorded that one, the foundation for the track was Sly & Robbie’s own Bam Bam Riddim, featured here in Murder She Wrote by Chaka Demus & Pliers:

Chaka Demus & Pliers – Murder She Wrote (1994)


The Bam Bam Riddim, while not the most widely used of its kind, is featured on at least 102 tracks according to riddimguide.com. In contrast to Demus’ chauvinistic admonishment of “corrupt and dirty” women, the riddim’s namesake is most likely the empowered and conscious vibe of Sister Nancy‘s 1982 track, Bam Bam:

Sister Nancy – Bam Bam


While Nancy’s inspiration is clearly the 1966 Maytals & Byron Lee & Dragonaires track by the same name, the riddim she sings over in her version is actually the Stalag Riddim discussed in the DJ Ripley video featured in Saturday’s post. If Nancy’s vocal melody sounds familiar, but you just can’t place it, it may be because you remember hearing it in Lauryn Hill’s track, Lost Ones.

So after that stroll down reggae’s memory lane, where does Secreto’s deejay take us next? Well, from 3:15 to 3:25 we hear the unmistakable verve and swagger of Dr Dre & Snoop Dogg’s Deep Cover. SELECTA! RUN DE RIDDIM!

Dominican youths dance at a dembow contest