Found footage in Central Square
By EMMA DESSAU | March 7, 2012
Bollywood movies flickered on the wall of Cambridge's River Gods at last Tuesday's Imperialisms night, while WMBR's Jesse Kaminsky stood in the DJ booth, perched high above beer drinkers and cocktail sippers, and spun music from around the world and back again. "It's always these incredibly elaborate celebration scenes, where everyone's dancing to loud, intense music," says Imperialisms' co-DJ Angela Sawyer of Weirdo Records, pointing at the glittery dance sequence unfolding behind the heads of a couple eating a romantic dinner. "But the only person you see actually playing music is one guy on an acoustic guitar."
FOUND SOUNDS Jesse Kaminksy spins Imperialisms at River Gods.
Imperialisms — the monthly foreign-music night put on by Kaminsky and Sawyer — has been a River Gods fixture since September 2009. According to Sawyer, there are few other DJ nights like Imperialisms in the United States, and none going on as consistently. "I'm not actually sure whose idea it was, which probably means it was Jesse's," Sawyer says. A friend recommended she get in touch with Kaminsky after hearing his radio show, Intercontinental, which also focuses on world music. "The minute I got a look at Jesse's Iranian 45 collection, I became inflamed with jealousy and had to find a way to hear them again."
The unique night brings in a mix of regulars and people who have just stumbled into the ornately decorated, tucked-away bar for a drink, likely having no idea that a theme night is going on. Over the past two years, Imperialisms has welcomed guest DJs from out of town, and thrown a couple of "YouTube nights," playing music found only online. "The Internet allows people to burrow down into their personal cultural rabbit holes further than the Yellow Pages used to," notes Sawyer. "But the music itself is impossible to ignore once you've bumped into it." ^
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