Arts Desk

Obeyah and Trevor Martin Go Tropical

"De Washington D.C., DJ Obeyah! Trevor Martin! The Metaphysical!" harked a Panamanin radio ad this spring. For a month and a half this year—during the country's carnaval season—the three D.C. DJs set up for a series of parties at backpacker joint Mondo Taitu in Bocas del Toro, on Panama's Isla Colon. They returned, naturally, with some video. "I know no Spanish, so everything had to be translated, and when I got to Panama City on the big island, my hostel was overbooked, so the promoters had to arrange a seat on a tiny, 10-seater plane to get me there," says Obeyah, aka Arlington native Reed Griffith. "There was a guy, Cosmo Carrig who was working with a hostel [Mondo Taitu], who were throwing parties at their appropriately named bar Casa Animale during carnaval who helped set everything up, and from there it was amazing."

The parties were apparently pretty egalitarian, to hear Obeyah tell it. "There were nights, where, when we were finished at the club, we would go outside, and cumbia bands would set up stages in the middle of the street, and everyone, kids, families, tourists, even the chief of police would be celebrating," he says. "It was just like D.C. is, spinning down there. You have a diverse crowd, with very diverse interests, and you're trying to make the connections to please the entire room."

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  • The Metaphysical

    This was my third time down to Bocas, my favorite place to spin in the world. Panama is so free, not because of the laws, but because of the widespread corruption. Most likely you can get away with anything as long as you have $20 or $50 in your pocket.

    People surf all day, hang out on the beach, hang out on boats, and eat incredible local food (drink panamanian piss beer, but no one cares). Then at night the whole Island goes crazy till 5 in the morning every day.

    You will see people from all over the world, groups of australians, irishmen, swedish girls, israeli dudes, south american rich kids, canadian backpackers, some of the biggest surfers in the world, all on this tiny, mostly under developed island where everyone stays in hostels. While they might not all speak the same language, they all know sex, drugs, and dance music.

    I plan to get more local DJs down this year. If you want a cheap vacation in the middle of winter, Bocas Del Toro is the place to be. Suggestions: bring shorts and sandles, and drink the local rum, its f&^%#ing incredible.