As the long hot Summer gets underway here in New York City, Selectress Iriela returns from her first visit to Detroit wiser. Selectress Iriela aka Valerie Parker, launched her multi-genre career on the legendary drive time reggae music program, ‘Rockers’ on 88.9FM WERS Boston in 1996. “I went to Detroit to experience the resilient spirit of the place as both an entrepreneur and a DJ,” Selectress Iriela messaged me on Thursday morning.
Motor City is big now. Even Anthony Bourdain is getting in on the action. But it wasn’t always so in the recent past. In 2013, the city of Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. It is, notoriously, the largest city bankruptcy filing in U.S. history by debt. Detroit, Michigan is also the home of Motown as well as some of today's most exciting performers. Light and dark, the city has soul and funk and, above all, a layered history. “You can see here, as it is impossible to do in a more varied and complex city, the whole structure of an industrial society,” wrote the great Edmund Wilson, on a visit to the Detroit.
“I never expected that it would feel like home in many ways,” emails Selectress Iriela, getting ready for her summer show in Brooklyn. “ I've been around the world in my work but never touched down in the middle of my country and it was meaningful to do it like this. I expect to return again and often.”
“There is exciting energy there for revitalization of communities through art and music as well as social entrepreneurs like me. I saw bits of myself throughout Detroit and I can't wait to highlight the work of the innovators there on the Second World platform, and continue my music productions and DJing with my friends there. It was incredible to meet Chris Campbell, and be part of his Progressive Underground show on WDET -- to have Amp Fiddler dancing to my all reggae set at the benefit for my documentary in production Reggae Revolution... there are so many reasons to return!”
In the YouTube video of her trip, “Selectress Iriela’s Trip to Detroit,” Selectress Iriela talks to local techno DJ Superdre, Maggie Derthik and Amy Cooper, the ladies of Girls Gone Vinyl. “It was incredible how the maiden trip mirrored my life in many ways - it had a ‘this is your life’ quality to it,’” notes Selectress Iriela. In the video Iriela talks about her biggest influence and how she prepares a set.
Enter: Sunset Boogie, back in Brooklyn.
“Launching this Sunday at Analog BKNY in Brooklyn - doors at 6pm kicking off your soulful Summer right,” writes Selectress Iriela via email. Sunset Boogie is the third Sunday of each month, 6PM to Midnight. Dante Ross, Joey Carvello and yours truly will be bringing the vinyl gems for your dancing pleasure this Sunday May 21 at Analog BKNY!” Iriela tells me. “Doors @ 6pm, come rockin yr #SunsetBoogieStyle #newpartyalert #nycparties #theunexpected.”
RSVP here (free!) , or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure entry on Sunday, May 21.