Every summer, my parents would throw a garden party. As children, me and my sisters floundered in and out of the crowd, making fun of our mother’s dance moves, sneakily ladling punch into our glasses and observing that mysterious adult world as it swelled and swayed, colorful planets orbiting around its gravitational centre: the Deejay. I was fascinated by his empathic understanding, taming and seduction of the dance floor, his fingers tickling stacks of albums, one ear freed from the headphones to keep track of something more subtle, the humming energy of his surroundings. As the years went by, I drew closer to the deejay booth until one year I was asked to make my official debut—I have been spinning records ever since.
Although Florence has always boasted a great disc jockey scene, it sometimes felt like it was missing its fill of feminine talent. Something had to give and it did. 2017 has proven to be the year of the Deejane. I invited eight of these ballsy ladies to drop by The Florentine’s office.
“Music has always been an important part of my life, so deejaying seemed like the normal progression of a lifelong passion. I have developed a serious case of vinylmania.” Traveling to her family’s hometown in Greece, Myrtó would create playlists for the trip, a habit that has flourished into an ongoing series of DJ sets. “I have a thing for hip hop and funk, especially afro and tribal, and all things Mediterranean. The cool thing about Florence is that although it is small it cannot be labeled with just one genre: music can be found at every corner!” Myrtó is graduating in art history and works as a museum guide, volunteering as an Italian teacher for immigrants in her spare time.
Daniela Dello Russo
“For me, deejaying is all about having fun and not taking yourself too seriously.” From the Matera province, Daniela works for Scandicci’s public library. She took her first deejay steps nine yearsago as part of a female duo, Ladies Collage. “We were surrounded by male selectors who for the most part didn’t lift a finger to help us, so we learned how to do everything on our own.” Daniela has also lived and performed abroad, experiences that have honed her eclectic style and broadened her horizons. “I always look for inspiration outside of my comfort zone and I have a penchant for world music.”
“Everything started in 2008, thanks to a friend. Since I didn’t play any instruments, this was the closest way to creating a sound of my own.” Ever since she has brought her hard rock beats and ‘60s and ‘70s vibes to dance floors in Tuscany and beyond. “I grew up listening to The Beatles, but experienced a breakthrough moment at 16 when I came upon certain ‘60s and ‘70s rock bands, especially The Stooges and The Cramps.” Ilaria is also a talented illustrator, authoring the artwork of Florence-based band Plastic Man’s recent album “Sounding Aquarium”. Alongside local event planner Annibale Records, she also co-curates concert evenings at Blob Club.
“In 1996 I had my very own show on a local radio, where I aired blues, black music, soul and funky tunes. This gave me the confidence to begin my deejay career.” For 20 years now, Lucille has been playing her tunes all over Florence and believes that every neighborhood has its own vibe. “Each street, each corner has its own musical history and would deserve a mixtape of its own.” Her radio persona has also evolved, as she is the star of two slots on FM station Controradio: the Soul Lucille Show, where she selects funky and soul, and Lucyfer, focused on ‘70s rock.
Camilla Sofia Scupola
“Me and my family used to take long road-trips to visit my grandmother. It took a whopping 13 hours, which we spent listening and singing along to my mom’s cassettes.” Herbal medicine student Camilla’s moniker Kalé is the abbreviation of kaleidoscope, as to explain her ever-changing style. “I define myself as a ‘musicannibal!’ Although I studied both piano and cello, I’m more at peace listening rather than playing music, and I believe that the woman deejay scene is definitely on the rise.”
“My father is a serial collector of jazz and blues records and he passed his obsession on to me. I think that generosity is essential when you love music—it has to be shared.” Born in Calabria, Letizia moved to Florence to pursue a PhD in biochemistry. Here, after years of dumpster diving and dusty crate digging, she rediscovered the pleasure of going to record stores. “The real turning point for me was when I discovered lounge music. I used to go to movies just to listen to the soundtracks and that’s also how I first encountered one of my musical beacons: Florentine composer Piero Umiliani.” Letizia’s collection now boasts more than 1,000 records and she has a soft spot for the 7-inch format.
“It all started in 2001 with an open mixing deck area in a bar. Being 19 and curious, I gave it a go.” Growing up in a family of music lovers, Giada’s all-round knowledge of music can be felt throughout her sets, which range from ‘80s trash to Balkan beats, tropical rhythms and rare Italian finds from the ‘50s and ‘60s. “Having also deejayed abroad, I must say that Florence is the only city that truly appreciates and encourages such freestyling multi-colored musical taste.” Giada travels across Italy with her faithful vintage Fiat 500 Convertible, which comfortably transforms into her personal stage and DJ booth when she folds up the top.
“At the beginning it was a bit of a game. I enjoyed mimicking my deejay friends, although my vinyl collection was a small, precious and private asset that I rarely shared.” Born in Sicily, Veronica moved to Florence three years ago on a scholarship at the Accademia della Crusca. “I only play original pressings. My selection mainly consists of rare Italian ‘60s shake, mod and beat records. Being a linguist at heart, I love the lyrics. One of my dreams would be to write an essay on which methods were used to translate and adapt them into other languages, a very common practice at the time. “Tutto Nero”, for example, was the title of Caterina Caselli’s cover of The Rolling Stones’ famous single “Paint it Black.”