Words by Nneka Samuel

Caribbean Dance Music (CDM), which fuses regional genres like reggae, soca, dancehall, zouk and the like with techno, house and other dance genres, is fast emerging on a global scale. Come August 6, CDM will take center stage in Trinidad & Tobago for the first ever Caribbean Dance Music Conference (CDMC), hosted by CDM Generation.

The four day, action-packed event kicks off with a launch on Thursday, August 6 at Aria Lounge in Woodbrook. The following day, the conference (at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad in Port of Spain) will host Q&A-friendly panel discussions on various subjects like digital marketing and sound engineering, as well as workshops and demos. The conference itself is one day and specifically targets locals DJs and producers.

What is CDM

Collective Digital Studios, who specialize in YouTube optimization and are no stranger to big name clients, will present a workshop. Wayne Marshall, a techno-musicologist and Harvard University professor who specializes in Caribbean music genres and fusion, will also be in attendance. St. Vincent producer Kubiyashi, who has worked with artists like Major Lazer, will be leading a workshop. Local industry leaders will touch on topics like technology, copyright and licensing. A live demo will allow producers to get feedback on their tracks from international DJs and industry leaders.

CDMC organizer Karrilee Fifi created the event as a means to promote the genre in the Caribbean. “Yes, EDM is trending and it’s coming down here, but it’s hard for the local market to completely grasp, so it has to be more palatable to the Caribbean,” says Fifi. “It hasn’t been packaged and exported in a way that Caribbean producers can really profit off of it.”

Fifi, who has organized several other EDM events in recent months like Wet Republic and Sunset Festival, has noticed that people want to come out for all the big name DJs, but they don’t really want to support the local DJs. So growth in the EDM scene in the Caribbean is a matter of developing the support, owning the genre in the Caribbean market and supporting it so that fans come out no matter what. “The content is there,” says Fifi. “It’s just for people to see the value in it.”

Held at various venues, the CDMC will also feature live performances by Mark Hardy, Yung Rudd, Jimmy October and Inzey, to name a few. KickRaux will perform Saturday night at the main event, along will female DJ Jack Novak. Other DJs set to perform include Bass Gang, Bass Monstars, Colony, Nuphoric, Subtropik, and Valstar.

To purchase tickets to CDM Conference and supporting events, visit their Facebook page. You can also check out CDM Generation approved tunes via Soundcloud.