Dion TYGAPAW McKenzie
Devil Woman (Obeah Woman) Part 1: Dem Nuh Like We An We Nuh Like Dem

April 14, 2022

Performances will take place at The Chocolate Factory Theater, 38-33 24th Street, Long Island City.

For their first commissioned work as a 2022 ISSUE Artist-In-Residence, producer, DJ, and artist Dion TYGAPAW McKenzie presents the first part of Devil Woman (Obeah Woman), an opera in three parts. Using Techno as their main genre of focus, the work urges us to renegotiate and expand our understanding of the genre. The opera forms a sonic narrative that draws from Jamaica’s rich musical heritage—referencing national, patriotic, and traditional songs. McKenzie repurposes and deconstructs these sounds deeply rooted in the island’s colonial history as an effort to simultaneously decolonize operatic form and expand the potentiality of Techno’s own colonized histories. The result exemplifies a profound sense of self-determination that asserts a new identity free from the constraints of external control.

This performance is co-presented with ISSUE Project Room. The presentation features accompanying visuals by Alima Lee.

Notes from Dion TYGAPAW McKenzie on Devil Woman (Obeah Woman) Part 1:

What if our souls were no longer fragmented? What if transmutation happens in our souls? What if this made us whole? What happens when a black obeah woman leads a successful slave rebellion? What if no one really knows?

Presented in the form of an opera, Devil Woman (Obeah Woman) is a sonic exploration of the history of the relatively unknown and unsung hero Nanny of the Maroons. The story of this leader of the Windward Jamaican Maroons will be presented in the format of an opera in three parts. Techno will be the soundtrack to this vital reimagining. Techno as a colonized genre is the tool chosen to decolonize the opera.

Dion McKenzie known as TYGAPAW, is a Producer, DJ and Artist, originally from Mandeville, Jamaica, and based in Brooklyn, New York. A polymathic artist injecting their Jamaican heritage into techno, TYGAPAW operates at the intersections of their musical and cultural roots. Released via influential Mexico City imprint N.A.A.F.I., debut album ‘GET FREE’, features singles ‘Run 2 U’ and ‘Facety’ with vocal features from Mandy Harris Williams and TYGAPAW. An 11-track collection of hard-hitting, cathartic energy, the project explores black joy, the active dismantling of imagined limitations, and the eradication of self doubt using techno landscapes. Most recent release ‘Diffusus’ (Tresor) was part of Tresor’s 30th Anniversary compilation and featured songs by Jeff Mills, Helena Hauff, LSDXOXO, Robert Hood, Juan Atkins and more. Previous releases ‘Ode To Black Trans Lives’ and ‘Handle With Care’ saw TYGAPAW release via Fake Accent, their own imprint and club night. Live highlights include MoMA PS1, The Hydra (London), Boiler Room (Toronto, LA), RBMA Weekender (Montreal, LA), AFROPUNK, Toronto Pride, Moonshine (Montreal), Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston, Miami), alongside NYC institutions Webster Hall, Knockdown Center, Brooklyn Museum, Bossa Nova Civic Club, Elsewhere, Nowadays and more. TYGAPAW has also embarked on tours in Asia, Australia and Europe, playing shows in London, Paris, Basel, Vienna, Berlin, Oslo, Seoul, Shanghai, Melbourne, Chippendale and Leipzig. Having premiered at TIFF in 2020, TYGAPAW features as a lead alongside the likes of Sherelle and TOKiMONSTA in music documentary UNDERPLAYED. Directed by Stacey Lee, the film explores gender, ethnic and sexual equality issues in dance music and was released worldwide via Amazon. TYGAPAW has future releases slated for NYC imprint Mister Saturday Night. A multidisciplinary artist resolute in reminding the world of dance music’s revolutionary black roots, 2022 is set to further cement TYGAPAW as one of the techno trailblazers to watch.