Last weekend I DJ’ed at a wedding of an Italian bride and French groom at The Caledonian club in Belgravia. Very few of the guests were British and much of the night’s music comprised Italian, French, Salsa, Arabic, Bhangra and even Greek!
Afterwards it occurred to me that there can be very few DJs on the entire planet with more experience of international music and different cultures than I have. For 12 years I DJ’ed in clubs in many countries around Europe, the middle east and far-east Then over the last 10 years I’ve DJ’ed at weddings of virtually every nationality in Europe plus many more such as Mauritius, Nigeria, Iraq, Iran, South Africa, Australia, Kenya, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, USA, South Korea, Canada, India, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Israel, Malaysia, Pakistan, Japan, China and others that I can no longer remember and I’ve now got music from over 80 countries in the world.
I’ve never marketed myself as being a specialist for weddings of different nationalities/cultures, but it’s amazing at how often I get booked for weddings where one or both partners is from another country.
I must admit that I love doing these type of weddings as they’re a real challenge, especially when very few of the family or guests are from the UK, because then most of the music that’s played at a typical UK wedding is out of the window! And you really have to think about what to play to keep the dance floor full.
It’s also interesting because often the bride/groom will give me music from their country and so I get to hear many sounds I’d never usually get exposed to. I always keep notes on tracks that go down particularly well, and it’s really paid off, as for example at one wedding I did for some Turkish people I made notes of the popular tracks that they danced to, and then a couple of years later I did another wedding where the bride was Turkish and when I played some tracks popular at the previous wedding, the guests were amazed that I had them and went crazy. The same thing has happened with weddings years apart featuring people from Mauritius, Iran and Japan where the last thing they were expecting was for an English DJ to have music from their homeland!
This is also the advantage of having a digital music collection. I always have 50,000+ tracks at any event I’m at (including much of this international music), and so if there are some people attending from a country which I have some music from, I can give them a huge surprise!
I also often get booked to do mixed race weddings where one partner is black and one white, and it’s only after we’ve met that they’ve found out that I have a huge collection of Reggae, Soca, Soul, etc.
That being said, still, most weddings that I perform at are all British affairs.