“Take a walk around Petare, Venezeula’s biggest slum, and you’ll soon notice colorful posters at every turn bearing the words “X-Dimension” in metallic, flame-embossed fonts straight out of your Take a walk around Petare, Venezeula’s biggest slum, and you’ll soon notice colorful posters at every turn bearing the words “X-Dimension” in metallic, flame-embossed fonts straight out of your Microsoft Word ClipArt folder. It’s the name of a popular soundsystem run by local dance music pioneer DJ Yirvin. Locally, it’s known as “La Bestia de Caracas,” (“The Beast of Caracas”).
“For their anniversary party they packed a club with 5,000 people,” relates Francisco Mejia, alias Pacheko, a Venezuelan DJ/producer. “5,000 people! I’ve never had more than a few hundred people come to my parties downtown. These guys are famous in the ghetto and completely ignored by the Venezuelan media. It’s crazy! But in Venezuela, there’s the barrio culture and the middle class culture, and they don’t know anything about each other.”
DJ Yirvin is part of an elite group of barrio producers who have been making larger-than-life, speaker rattling, 4×4 dance music in Venezuela since the late 90s, while somehow staying under the radar both in Venezuela and abroad. Since house music arrived and took root here, a constellation of homegrown flavors of dance music have sprung up, including the genres street house, raptor house and hard fusion – collectively known under the umbrella term changa tuki. After over a decade of being ignored, the cheesy yet delicious beats of changa tuki are finally starting to generate interest beyond the barrio, sparked by a new documentary called Quien Quiere Tuki? (Who Wants Tuki?!), produced by Pacheko’s Abstractor collective and video producers Montro Contenidos, as well as a smattering of tuki comps and releases coming out of Europe. And it’s about flipping time.