DJ BO On Bringing His International Funky Sounds to Sanya

By That's Sanya, May 2, 2021

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We welcome DJ BO from Shanghai to Hainan. Read below as he shares about Border Breaks: International Funky Sounds, which he’ll be spinning at Shaka Surf in Riyue Bay in Wanning.

My name is DJ BO. No stops, all caps: no brags, just facts. I'm “Shanghai's #2 DJ” and spin ex-post Esquerita, earthly-eclectica and rockabilly-funk with aplomb. I whirl those styles all together like a disco-ball globe and it makes my signature night, called Border Breaks: International Funky Sounds. I'll be humbly doing that shtick for you May 1 to 3 in Sanya at the Shaka Surf Club.

Image via Zachary Bako

Border Breaks: International Funky Sounds is made up of block party jams, many of which formed the foundation to hip-hop. Just as importantly, it includes tunes of the same tradition I personally picked up in the 28 countries I've performed in around the globe, as I am an urban vagabond. So, if you wanted to hear a hodgepodge of Spanish disco, Cambodian hip hop, South Korean funk and US rock'n'roll, this is for you.

With the certain big C floating around the breathosphere, my international travel has been curtailed. However, I'm still piecing together snatches of sound as I get ready to reach Sanya, my 29th city in China. Here are 5 tunes you can expect as you hang 10 and get down at Shaka Surf Club.

DJ Astro Black f. Masia One - Light It Up


Born in Singapore, B-girl returner in Canada, “Dyah” spitter in Jamaica, and currently cooped up in KL, Malaysia, no one travels space and sound like “The Far East Empress,” Masia One. After recently releasing a more contemplative EP, Freedom Fades, last year,she is back with this new reggae jam to run the show. As always, weaving together a tapestry that respects legacy but reps her own “Chiney Money” perspective – real bootleg culture stuff – Masia again proves one of the most vibrant artists of this or any year. I'm expecting the island vibes to go down well in Hainan Province.

NST & The Soul Sauce meets Kim Yulhee 소울소스 meets 김율희 - (Who Knows) Swallow Knows

South Korea

It would take the length of a subway ride from one side of Seoul to the other to begin to summarize the group known as NST & The Soul Sauce meets Kim Yulhee, but I'll skim the surface in saying they mix funky, dub-heavy sounds with traditional Korean song-craft. Fun fact: vocalist Kum Yulhee is the only person I've ever seen in person wear a crown without a hint of irony. It didn't seem an inch out of place. This tune they're just releasing now as a vinyl single is a serious groove with percussion and keys sliding along. Bassist NST holds it all together with serious foundation. Who knew that would work? I guess a certain bird, apparently.

Funan Beat Empire - Magacity (VPN on)


At first listen this is head-nod hip-hop, not something you'd expect at Shaka Surf Club. Yet, it’s got enough crunch that it'll snap your neck with kinetic energy if you let it take you away. Funan Beat Empire is a new project from duo Mike Dynami and Initial G. They're a rap duo, but that's mighty reductionist, as they've put out everything from boom bap to “Rage” inspired rock/rap hybrids, to this track from their new dystopian, synth-heavy album Retrofuturism. Dig those distant Cambodian Khmer vocals that connect this song from Blade Runner to Phnom Penh.

Vinida 万妮达 - Love Is Blind 真爱盲目


With an initial start/stop stutter to her career, Beijing rapper and singer Vinida went from TV talent show, to underground hit with“Run This,” and now returns four years in with her new album, Truth of the Clay (云泥之别). Tucked away between the grimy club fare is this slice of shimmering disco intact with rising chorus. Paired with an eye-popping music video, it’s confounding this one didn’t cross-over. Regardless, it's been a staple of my sets from Mianyang eastward and you can expect me doing my best disco-slide in the DJ booth to this one.

Darko Domijan - Zlatokosa

Croatia / Yugoslavia

From the early disco year of 1974 comes this Eastern European cut I picked up on a DJ tour of the Balkans a few years back. It's got mostly unmistakable rock guitar but with a funk drumbeat and soulful vocals. I call these tunes rockabilly-funk. How Mr. Domijan came up with a sound that seems more characteristic of a jukejoint of Baton Rouge than Zagreb, I have no idea, but we're all better because of it. Plus, its drum solo, or in hip-hop terms, the break, is worthy of any that's ever been played in the South Bronx. I've spun it for unsuspecting breakdancers the world over. That new contextualizing is what makes what I do all worth it. Come see it live.

May 1-3: Border Breaks: International Funky Sounds

Image via DJ Bo

Travel the world through melodies and beats with DJ Bo as he shares set lists created from his exploration and performances in 28 countries. Be on the lookout for an article later this week about DJ BO and his background, recent travel with a talent photographer, and a bit of tickle for the ears in what to expect.  

May 1-3, 9.30pm; Free entry. Shaka Surf Club.

READ MORE: Free T-Shirt at the Brazilian Culture Festival When You Pre-Order Food

[Cover Image via Zachary Bako]

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