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Gingee: A unique blend of Filipino rhythm, global bass and LA roots




Gingee, aka Marjorie Light, draws on Filipino indigenous percussion and global bass for her unique sound.
Gingee, aka Marjorie Light, draws on Filipino indigenous percussion and global bass for her unique sound.
Dorian Merina/KPCC

It's hard to describe the style of L.A.-based musician and DJ Gingee. Her music draws on electronica, merengue, hip-hop and much more. But one thing's for certain: it's full of energy and infused with the flavors of her native Los Angeles.

"Growing up in L.A., I was exposed to a million different subcultures," said Gingee, aka Marjorie Light. "Even just at my high school [in Eagle Rock] there were the hip-hop people, there were the indi-rock people, there were the punk rock people, the ravers, so I would be friends with all these people and go to different shows – that's what I grew up in."

Her latest album is called Tambol, and features the indigenous percussion and flute of the Philippines, her family's heritage.

"I think it's important for us to explore our sound," said Gingee. That leads to an important question that drives her music: "What is the Filipino American sound or, more generally, what is the Asian American sound?"

Highlights from the interview:

How growing up in Los Angeles influenced her music:

"It was normal for me to go to some random deep house show, then go to a ska show, then go to an underground hip-hop show, then go to a rave. All this music kind of just worked its way inside of me, so I'm just going to draw from all of that to express myself musically and as a way of finding identity as a Filipina. I don't have that many representations of Filipinas around me so I have to create me own."

On being a female DJ in a genre dominated by men:

"It can be really awesome because people give you a lot of love,  but it can be really tough because you can be invisible and people can just really hate on you. So it depends on who you're dealing with. But I'm just having fun with it just existing and surviving as a female DJ. I'm overjoyed that I'm able to pursue my dreams and my passion and if in any small way I am helping to pave the way for other women, then that's great because other women have actually paved the way for me."

Gingee will be performing live this weekend in L.A.'s Historic Filipinotown.