To bring attention to women in dancehall, The Heatwave have released the mix ‘Gyal Power’. If you’ve not heard of them, The Heatwave are Gabriel, Rubi Dan, Benjamin D, three DJs who bill themselves as a ‘bashment raving scandal’ with their weekly nights and legendary mixes.
While a mixtape of ‘wimminz in music’ in another genre, like those ‘Women Who Rock’ magazine covers, might seem reductive and absurd, the trio behind Heatwave wanted to challenge the stereotype that dancehall is sexist. What better way than with a banging 68-track one-hour long mix? We’re loving it in the NME office.
“Dancehall is often represented as misogynistic but actually there are more powerful female figures in dancehall than in many music genres – and female dancehall fans are hugely influential when it comes to records being hits,” explains Gabriel. “That misunderstanding about female participation and influence in dancehall is precisely why we wanted to make this mix – to show that rather than simply being passive objects, women in dancehall are often centre stage in control”.
Lady Chann, one of the MCs on the mix, believes the mix had to made, saying women in dancehall are “severely underrated in our contribution to music, especially in the underground scene”. Gabriel cites Tanya Stephens, Cecile, Keida and Natalie Storm as female dancehall artists who aren’t given enough kudos but the mix also includes versions of songs by Amy Winehouse, Adele and Leona Lewis.
You can listen and download it above.