SONG OF THE DAY: Mayra Veronica – “Ay Mama Mia”

With the weather turning cold, the timing of “Ay Mama Mia” to inject some Latin heat couldn’t be better.  Well-known as a USO spokeswoman and model, Mayra Veonica has been a hitting the dance floor with tracks like “If You Wanna Fly” and “Freak Like Me.” “Ay Mama Mia” is reminiscent of the festive vibe of classic Miami Sound Machine, think “Conga” or “Rhythm is Gonna Get You,” updated with a modern sound.  A plethora of strong remixes will guarantee club play with diverse sounds from Chocolate Puma (big room with Latin breakdown), Sick Individuals (electro), Robbie Rivera (a horn-led tribal workout), and Razor N Guido (a New York take on swing house).  It’s hard to choose a favorite mix, but I find myself favoring Dave Aude’s swing house take which brings in the rhythm line reminiscent of the Paul Johnson classic “Get Get Down” that was used in the original tropical version.  The video syncs classic footage of bombshells like Bettie Page and Trudy Wayne to Dave Aude’s mix – which isn’t surprising as Mayra is now the face of Bettie Page clothing.  For another visual interpretation, look out for the upcoming IFC feature film “The Songs of the Buena Vista Social Club” which will feature “Ay Mama Mia” as well.

Image Courtesy of  MVA Records.

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Res – “They-Say Vision”

“Sick of shuckin’ ’round with a screwed up face/
With my heels dug in trying to leave a trace.”

Instantly recognizable – the lyrics, the hooks, and the voice. In a genius move, MCA Records enlisted several of the biggest remixers of 2002 to take the third single from Res’ debut album and perform their craft, which paid off in a massive way as “They-Say Vision” ended its run on the Billboard Dance Chart in the coveted #1 slot. Almost instantly, the varied mixes took hold among the crowds and created eager debate over which was better; the bass-heavy, piano-laden “Robbie Rivera’s Vocal Mix Part Two” (exactly WHERE is Part One?), the progressive and energetic “DJ Giuseppe D Remix,” or the foot-stomping, loop-driven “Bastone & Burnz Remix.” Only one mix seemed out of place at the time – the “DJ Encore Remix,” which today would sound right at home mixed in with a handful of Gotye “Somebody That I Used To Know” mixes.

The uniqueness of Res – the alternative rock, hip-hop soul vibe which appealed to many, was sadly lost in a record label buy-out and her sophomore album was shelved. Still she moved forward, doing background vocals for Gnarls Barkley and opening for both Maxwell and Musiq Soulchild. Fans can look forward to her next release “Refried Mac” – A collection of Fleetwood Mac covers.

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TOP TEN LISTS: House DJs

Our favorite DJs spinning and producing house music all around the world.

1. Roger Sanchez

Roger Sanchez is not only the DJ’s DJ but the producer’s producer. Constructing his entire new CD Come With Me from scratch, with outside assistance, he proves his skills as engineer, producer, programmer, and songwriter. Inspired by the dance Mecca island of Ibiza, the CD has already spawned several club anthems, with many more to come. To experience him as a DJ, check out his recently released mixed CD Release Yourself 5, his podcasts and radio shows, or live, as he spins all over the globe.

2. Frankie Knuckles

Godfather of House Frankie Knuckles doesn’t really need an introduction. His nights spinning at The Warehouse in Chicago during the late 70s and early 80s is where the term “house music” came from. Recipient of the first Grammy for remixer of the year, he has worked on just about every important soulful vocalist in the past 20 years – Diana Ross, Patti Labelle, Michael Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Natalie Cole, Chaka Khan, Luther Vandross, and Patti LaBelle just to name a few.

3. Gavin Hardkiss

Since 1990 Gavin Hardkiss has been one of the biggest players in the American dance music industry. Alongside his siblings Robbie and Scott, Gavin has served as a label-boss, performance act and Disc Jockey; promoter and a key industry figure. Any devoted fan of house music has been following his career while increasingly seeing his name appearing in tracklistings and on playbills around the globe.

4. Murk

Basslines too deep and dark for Talla 2XLC’s bog. Hi-hats that ring out like some particularly funky species of frog, punching through the night. And those synth hooks riding atop the groove like a painted harlot. These are the three basic components of the Murk sound, and over ten years later it still is emblematic of the primal incarnations of house and body music. In their own words, ladies and gentlemen, Murk boys Ralph Falcon and Oscar Gaetan…

5. Deep Dish

Grammy Award-winning remix team Deep Dish (Ali ‘Dubfire’ Shirazinia and Sharam Tayebi) have earned their well-deserved international reputation as one of the best remixer and live DJ teams – chosen as Best International DJ by Muzik Magazine and ranked highly on DJ Magazine’s World’s Top 100 DJs reader poll.

6. Armand Van Helden

It seems that Armand Van Helden has been out of the spotlight for a while, sticking to the underground scene. Fast forward to 2004 and Armand releases New York: A Mix Odyssey, a truly unique and ground-breaking mixed CD compilation blending 80s dance music from Yaz, Soft Cell and Blondie with his current productions. His new productions “Hear My Name,” “My My My,” and “Let Me Lead You” remind us of the brilliance of “You Don’t Know Me” and “Witchdokta.”

7. Junior Vasquez

If there is a person in dance music who needs no introduction, it is Junior Vasquez. As styles change and people come and go, Junior Vasquez stands singularly as one of our legends who continues to spin and produce music that clubland loves.

8. Robbie Rivera

He’s Juicy and Wicked and likes Sex while getting his Funk-a-tron on, so how else do you describe the multitalented DJ and producer Robbie Rivera? With his new mixed compilation Wicked in stores and distribution through respected indie Subliminal, Robbie has a lot to hum about.

9. Joey Negro (aka Dave Lee)

Whether you call him Joey Negro, Jakatta or one of the Hed Boys, Dave Lee is well known as one of roots of the British house and garage scene. With countless productions and remixes in every DJ’s set, he manages to find the best music for his compilations and DJ sets while exploring his musicality with diverse and soul-satisfying projects. His new set Kings of Disco, with Dmitri from Paris, is just the latest gift he has given to house music lovers worldwide.

10. Ben Watt

Artist turned DJ – it almost sounds cliched, doesn’t it? In the case of Ben Watt, the transition from Everything But the Girl to Buzzin’ Fly is more of a logical artistic growth. The recent release of Buzzin’ Fly Volume 3 is a testament to the music that Ben Watt continues to produces and find for the househeads of the world.