Ten Years on the Hudson

18 06 2008

By Derek Beres

It wasn’t on the Hudson this past Memorial Day weekend, but rather on the East River stretching across the other side of Manhattan. Hundreds of people slept, drank, and tossed Frisbees in the 80-something-degree heat, feeling those first rays that signify the cycle of time has clicked once more, that we have returned to the high point of romanticism, of sunshine, of summer. Their feet beat down the wet sand where they doused themselves with water bottles; inside the covered tent people carried plastic tumblers of sangria and smiled, and danced, for the music, too, had emerged.

When Turntables on the River launched nearly ten years ago behind a then-makeshift ice rink on what is now Chelsea Piers, the basic idea was for a pair of local DJs—Nickodemus and Mariano—to host a gathering of positive music, whether it be the funk, hip-hop, and soul of Nicko’s childhood, the dance tracks they were both crate-digging, or their slowly growing fascination with African, Latin, and Balkan beats. Add to the mix their inspiration from Giant Step and Organic Grooves parties, adding live percussion and instrumentation into DJ sets, and a template was carved. Nappy G joined in on congas and shakers; a party was birthed.

Mariano was new to the turntables; as Nappy G would tell me—and as Mariano would affirm with laughter—“I don’t know if a lot of people know this, but Mariano is a very famous hairdresser. The crowd at the very first party was almost all women—beautiful women from all over the world, and not a lot of guys. It was the best ratio I ever saw.” The first party led to a handful more, and by the end of the 1998 season, the trio—along with the occasional staple, oud/guitar player and producer Zeb—knew they had something lasting on their hands.

To read the full article on PopMatters, click here

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