Please note: I don’t like a writer, instead I write like how I would speak to you!
So not sure if many of you know this about me, but back in the day (2002-2006) I use to be a Deejay. Yes, one that played music in a clubs. My guru, in the field of Deejaying, was Samuel Biswas (aka DJ SAMMY) It was under his guidance I was able to play music and entertain audiences. In those days there were not many Dj’s so I thought it was great to find myself a cool “DJ” name for some odd reason: Embarrassingly I give you “DJ OM”. Apart from playing at several private parties for my friends etc. I was also resident Deejay at Someplace Else, The Park Hotel alongside the legendary DJ AUSTIN. Austin is one of the best friends/mentors/deejays you will come across. He is an absolute legend at what he does. Anyway in the year 2006 there came a point where I had to choose ONE out of two paths that I was pursing: Deejaying or Dancing!
So packed my headphones and put on my dancing shoes.
I didn’t know I would fall in love with Salsa and want to continue doing that for the rest of my life or even a long time.
If I said I did: I would be a LIAR!
Well one thing led to another. I got better and better at it, more students, more shows, more appreciation and I continued. Moved to the UK to pursue Dance studies at the University of Surrey along with continuing my learning, teaching and showcasing Latin dancing. Was great fun!
Went to loads of Salsa parties in and around Europe & UK. Travelled extensively. But everytime I went for a Salsa party of any stature, I use to always imagine myself behind the console. Playing music for the people, making them dance the night away, being one of the reasons of a great night, introducing people to new music etc.
I didn’t have the time to go clubbing at non salsa venues so that was that. Anyway I couldn’t then even think of playing music because I didn’t have enough knowledge of the music or the language (not that I still do). But anyway I loved going to Salsa parties because not only did I enjoy the dancing every song bit but I also enjoyed how certain DJ’s played differently from others but how dancers still enjoyed.
Obviously I developed some favourites, don’t think I was in a position to dislike anyone or anyone’s music (don’t think I ever will or want to either).
Deejays who inspired me, made me and others dance all night long were the following:
DJ Shaan: Met him first in Mumbai at the Salsa India Congress (organised by the company I worked for at that point in time) + had extensive in-dept chats on Latin Deejaying.
DJ Mauri: Heard him play for the first time in London, when Supermario had invited him
DJ Julian: Heard him every week at Bar Salsa, London where I taught alongside Supermario + had extensive in-dept chats on Latin Deejaying.
DJ Willy: Heard him at several congresses in and around Europe
DJ OS: Heard him play at Bar Salsa, London when he was starting out. Was properly inspiring to see how much attention he paid etc. And it all paid off, definitely one of my fav’s he is.
DJ Fabrizo Zoro: Heard him recently in Bangalore, India and absolutely loved him. He is also the founder and band member of La Maxima 79 (that is just wow!) + had extensive in-dept chats on Latin Deejaying.
There are some more phenomenal Deejays around too but these were the ones I followed very closely. I took notice of what they started with, what they played (in congresses or local parties) when artists were dancing with everyone, how they paced and balanced their set, how they kept everyone involved, how well they supported another deejay who maybe coming on or played a set before them. The sync and respect they share for each other: All so good!
Well in 2014 I started, a Latin party in Kolkata called, Hot Latin Thursday (aka HLT). This is where I tried and applied everything that I knew of commercial Deejaying from my previous days along with all the knowledge I gained over the years. HLT has been going strong for more than 2 years today and we have hosted over 100 parties.
Someone once, told me it was not essential but it will be extremely helpful if I spoke Spanish too: Keep that in mind I have been learning for the past 18 months under the guidance of Maestro Sudip Chatterjee in Kolkata. Great teacher and a fantastic person as well.
Somehow, today I feel confident to be able to call myself a Latin Deejay and accept any offers from any part of the world. Happy to stand in front of a crowd to make then dance and give them a smashing evening. Ready to be able to respect sets of other Deejays and play sensibly before and after other Deejays. This note has been written before I approach several promoters requesting them to give me a slot (because that’s how it all begins).
Didn’t imagine this in 2004-05: That I would be writing this:
Funny but not funny that me being an Indian I, love to spread my passion and zeal for Latin dancing to one and all through teaching, choreographing, performing & deejaying.
Not sure what a great end is so just gonna stop chatting before this note becomes longer than it already is!
Vamos a bailar!
Deejaying: From Club to Clave!
Hitesh H. Teckchandani (aka Salsawala: My way of blending my passion & ethnicity in one word)