World music; Peruvian music; Latin American music; African music; intercultural understanding

Geli Berg (DJ Mayeva): a world music DJ bringing cultures together

Name

Geli Berg

Ethnicity

Mixed (Peruvian/Spanish and British/Irish/Norwegian)

Area

Oldham

Researcher

James Nissen

Comments

“Music helps people to understand each other…It brings cultures together and promotes intercultural understanding…The name of my agency is Lingua Franca – the common language. For me, music is the common language”. 

Geli is a DJ, singer/songwriter and poet and she has worked as a world music agent, radio broadcaster, event organiser and music producer. She was born in Hazel Grove in the 1950s to a Peruvian mother and a father of Irish and Norwegian descent. She is the founder and director of the Lingua Franca World Music Agency, which represents professional musicians and dancers from a wide range of cultural backgrounds, and the associated Lingua Franca World Community, which aims to promote understanding between ethnically diverse communities via musical, artistic and cultural practices. As DJ Mayeva, she presents an eclectic spread of world musics, with particular focus on contemporary African dance music and African-derived Latin American and Caribbean musics. 

Geli's Musical Life Story 

From a young age, Geli was surrounded by a ‘cross-section’ of music from different places, reflecting the diverse cultural influences of her home environment. While she listened to the popular American singer/songwriters and black soul singers of the time, Geli was also immersed in the sounds of Latin American music. Her mother, as the child of an indigenous Peruvian mother and a Spanish father, was herself mestizo and grew up in Gatley with foster parents. She had broad musical tastes and she shared these with Geli as she grew up. 

“I’m not sure that I even realised the influences were there until I was an adult! Mum would play Peruvian music a lot…and the old 1950s music which had strong Cuban influences…and she was also interested in Greek music. So she used to play me a real cross-section of music. I obviously took all of this in as I grew up…When the Buena Vista Social Club did their gig at the Bridgewater Hall, I cried the whole way through because every single song I had been introduced to as a child”. 

As a teenager, Geli also discovered folk songs from the UK and Ireland and Scandinavian cattle-calling, engaging with musical roots from her father. 

“I got interested in folk music when I was about 14 or 15. I remember hearing a duo, who used to tour around Greater Manchester. I remember it was a frame drum and vocals and it was very evocative. It was the folk songs from the mountains. It moved me a lot”. 

Nevertheless, she emphasises that it is the music of her mother’s side that has always had greater appeal for her. As a singer/songwriter, she started off singing bossa nova and ballads from across Latin America and her songwriting drew out different musical and cultural influences. 

“I started off singing bossa nova music and I’ve always carried that affinity for bossa nova music in my heart but, over the years, the interesting journey has been the way these influences just come out. I’ve written a jazz song, a tango, a samba, a fado, a reggae, a salsa…I’ve done a mixture”. 

However, Geli’s true dream since childhood was to become a radio presenter. Listening to off-shore radio stations like Radio Caroline and local broadcasters like Sunset Radio, she became ‘obsessed’ with soul music and other black music forms. She developed a ‘burning desire’ to get behind the microphone and she ended up working for several radio stations, including Jazz FM and ALL FM Community Radio, where she shared her love for music from different cultures. 

“My first 10 minute feature was called ‘The Musical Cruise’. I was ship docking and played a track and the listeners were invited to guess what country it was, just by the music played”. 

As part of an NVQ in radio production, Geli set up her own radio show, which culminated in her ‘Cultural Collage’ broadcast. On this basis, she ended up becoming a world music agent and organising her own events, including the Cultural Collage World Music Festival (2010-2013). 

“Cultural Collage became a huge part of my life. It ended up taking three days to four days every week to prepare it, and I wasn’t paid! It was through that that I started meeting musicians because I was inviting them onto the show. It was great actually – I found them, invited them onto the show for the interview, then took them for coffee, and found out loads about them. And then they were saying ‘Can you help us find work?’. So that was how it eventually became the agency…Then, I needed to get them seen, so that’s why I set up the world music festival, which ran for four years and was partly funded by me and partly by the Arts Council”. 

During the festival, Geli compèred the event, presenting artists onstage and playing her favourite tracks. Through this, she was invited by a promoter to run a stage at an event in Croydon in London, which instigated her career as DJ Mayeva. Today, Geli combines all of these musical activities together and she reflects that all of her interests are cyclical, continually feeding into one another. 

“I started off as a singer and then I went into radio. Then I set up an agency and then I set up a festival. And I’m kind of now coming back to my own music. I ended up as a world music DJ as part of all of that. I’m now writing world music songs with some musicians. I’ve come in a big circle. In terms of how I define myself, for this interview, it’s probably DJ Mayeva…I dabble in all things world music”. 

The Meanings of Geli's Music 

Geli states that the main purpose of her musical activities is ‘bringing cultures together’. On one level, this refers to celebrating her own diverse cultural heritage. 

“I decided to get in touch with my own culture and start spreading that. I’m doing a lot of study about man’s relationship with nature, because that’s very important amongst indigenous people in Peru…I’ve just written a poem, which I think will turn into a song at some point, called ‘Searching for the Blue’…and it’s about looking at the sky and looking for the good in life, influenced by nature”. 

On another level, it is also about promoting intercultural understanding by sharing musical and artistic practices. Geli explains that this latter motivation is specifically underpinned by her difficult experiences of growing up as a mixed-race child in Manchester. 

“I was bullied as a child. When I was a kid, I was very dark and I was racially abused, a lot. In the 1950s and 1960s, before Windrush, you didn’t see people of other cultures in south Manchester, so I was very rare. I just wanted to share my culture with other kids and they weren’t interested. I remember playing my mum’s traditional music to friends and they just weren’t interested. I just wanted them to understand me. So it ended up with me having this longing to share the music with people. I had a dream of having a radio show…purely because I wanted to share my experience of other musics and hadn’t really had that opportunity as a child…But, if it hadn’t been for that, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today”. 

Geli indicates that, whether as a world music agent or as DJ Mayeva, she is always aspiring to widen audience’s musical tastes and worldviews. 

“I really do feel quite emotional about the DJing because it feels like I’m finally sharing the music and getting people to dance to music which, at one time, nobody would listen to, you know?…When I select a particular track and think people might not like the track and they go crazy, there’s nothing better than that!”. 

She also highlights that, in a more immediate sense, her aim is to get audiences moving, as rhythm drives her own DJ sets and dance is at heart of many of the events she has organised. 

“I play anything that makes people dance, really…I used to dance salsa for many years…My favourite is contemporary African dance music. I’ve often had a young black guy peer around the DJ box and jump when they see me! I also play Latin music, Eastern European Gypsy music…pop music of black origin, like funk and things like that…Rhythm is the most important thing to me”. 

World Music in Manchester 

Geli states that her musical aspirations take more inspiration from the world of music than the Manchester music scene. She suggests that, in any other city, she would likewise be looking to bring cultures together. However, she reflects that, while Manchester may not have driven her interest in different cultures, music has helped her to discover different cultures within Manchester. 

“When I started doing the radio show in Manchester, I was interviewing all musicians who were based in Manchester and the majority of musicians I represent are based in Manchester…I wouldn’t have known about all the cultures in Manchester if it hadn’t have been for the radio show…And I do try to include some of the music of my artists on my playlists, wherever possible, to give a bit of exposure…so that’s the strongest link with Manchester”. 

She indicates that, while there has been some increase in interest in music from other cultures in Manchester, DJs and musicians still face many difficulties in the music scene, including exclusion, discrimination, funding problems and negative expectations. 

“The musicians haven’t had a voice…The United We Stream [scheme], which [aimed] to get Manchester artists online during COVID, was very British. I wrote to them and asked if we could get some of our musicians in and I didn’t get a response and this is kind of normal”. 

“At one festival, they tried to take my DJ equipment away from me because they said ‘There’s a guy on another stage who needs it’. They wouldn’t let my artists into the artist area because they said ‘They’re not the right type of artists’. It’s shocking. They were traipsing through mud because they didn’t send a cart and they were in full costume. That’s the lack of respect we have. There’s ageism, sexism, diversity-ism”. 

“People will only risk new music if it’s free. They’ll pay a lot of money to go and see somebody they’ve heard of before and know they like. When I was running the festival, if I put a five pound fee on something, nobody would come. I would get seven people. If it was free, because it was funded via something else, I’d get 200 people. People are interested…but, because people won’t pay to see world music, generally, smaller venues can’t afford to put them on”. “Professional world musicians have been downgraded in people’s eyes because some organisations had to keep refugees occupied with training and performances because they couldn’t work and they could put things on at very low cost or for free because they were funded but they didn’t differentiate between professional musicians and amateur musicians so what happened is that people who liked world music got to see really undisciplined amateur musicians…Don’t get me wrong – I think what those organisations were doing was very valuable – but…part of the fight I’ve had in getting people paid properly over the years is making people realise that there is a difference between amateur and professional musicians. A lot of my musicians were extremely famous back in their own countries. The first person I managed was Kanda Bongo Man, who would drop into conversation things like that he’d just played at Obama’s Inauguration”. 

However, Geli also suggests that there have been some positive developments in the scene. After more than a decade of campaigning, musicians now receive proper payment for performances, which she points out could not be assumed in the past. 

“When I first started, 99% of people wanted them to work for free…Nobody was getting paid, who came from that background. So it became a kind of campaign for trying to get paid properly…Now, it’s the reverse – there’s very, very few who would ask that and people are generally paid properly now”. 

She indicates that new projects involving collaborations with mainstream pop stars are also helping to give recognition to musicians and their music and that many festivals are now ‘nothing but wonderful’ towards the musicians. 

“I think working with more mainstream musicians…is where the recognition will come for them. I want them to collaborate. One of my musicians has already had session musicians work with Seal. As soon as you mention that to people, they’re interested. They’re not interested in music from Sierra Leone, until they hear it!”. 

Finally, Geli suggests that standout events, including performances at the Bridgewater Hall, have represented a claiming of spaces from which these musicians and their communities were previously excluded, demonstrating the possibility for a more inclusive music scene where different cultures are brought together through music. 

“We ran a world music festival in the Bridgewater Hall and it was wonderful. The festival was free, so it was packed all day…I had been approached by a drummer – at the time nobody in Manchester knew him so they wouldn’t put him on anywhere – and it was Sidiki Dembele, who is now very well known. I put him on in the foyer along with a Senegalese dancer, Diene Sagna…They were on in the foyer prior to a very famous West African singer on the main stage…The audience absolutely loved them…But I took my eye off the ball and, while the singer was onstage, Diene ran to the front of the hall and leapt onstage and started dancing with her…I forgot to mention to the Bridgewater that this is a tradition among African musicians – if they know each other, they will just join in. The next thing that happened is that Sidiki did exactly the same thing…and the audience went absolutely wild!”. 

“We put on a reggae [concert] in the bar [at the Bridgewater Hall]. There’s a guy called George Linton from Moss Side…I asked him to bring a couple of musicians…On the day, in walks about 30 people. The band was five but they’d also brought about 15 singers and they did all the old covers but with a different singer each time. All the British people ran off to the balcony because all the black people had taken over! They didn’t know how to respond. But they were up there dancing on the balcony. The Afro-Caribbeans had taken over the venue for themselves, which was unheard of in Manchester. Even though it is getting on for 10 years ago, they still talk about it and they still post photos on social media”. 

Susana Baca's 'Negra Presuntuosa' (see video) 

Geli selected this song from Susana Baca as one of the most meaningful tracks she presents as a DJ. Baca has been a pioneer in the contemporary revival of Afro-Peruvian music and Geli recounts first hearing the singer at a concert at the Bridgewater Hall. The lineup included Mexican singer/songwriter Lila Dows and Cuban singer Yusa alongside Baca and Geli had been drawn to the concert to hear the Cuban music. However, she discovered Baca’s music and she reflects that it helped her make connections between her love for Latin American music and West African music. Geli later met and interviewed Baca at a WOMAD festival, during which the singer dedicated a song to her personally. 

“I went to a concert that was Lila Downs, Yusa and Susana Baca. To be honest, I was more interested in the Cuban bit, not the Peruvian bit, but, when Susana Baca came on, I found it so familiar and this is when I discovered Afro-Peruvian music and I was completely enthralled. It helped me understand why I was so fascinated with West African music. That track helped me realise the connections I hadn’t realised”. 

“I met Susana Baca at WOMAD and she took one look at me and she said ‘You’re descended from one of the light skin black tribes in Peru!’ and she actually mentioned the area that my mum came from. She ended up singing to me personally and I really got emotional”. 

Traditional Peruvian Marinera Dance From Piura 

Geli explains that this video is important to her because marinera dancing runs in her family and, for her, it symbolises the diversity of Peru and her own connections with it as someone who strives to bring cultures together. 

“One of my mum’s cousins, on the ‘official’ side of the family, was a marinera dancer. Her granddaughter is a current champion marinera dancer. There are lots of links with flamenco. What it symbolised for me is that the port where my mother came from was a real mix of cultures. It was Portuguese, Eastern European, Spanish, Japanese, African. It was a centre of cultures and I feel like I’m a centre of cultures too!”.

World music; Peruvian music; Latin American music; African music; intercultural understanding

Geli Berg (DJ Mayeva): a world music DJ bringing cultures together

Name

Geli Berg

Ethnicity

Mixed (Peruvian/Spanish and British/Irish/Norwegian)

Area

Oldham

Researcher

James Nissen

Comments

“Music helps people to understand each other…It brings cultures together and promotes intercultural understanding…The name of my agency is Lingua Franca – the common language. For me, music is the common language”. Geli is a DJ, singer/songwriter and poet and she has worked as a world music agent, radio broadcaster, event organiser and music producer. She was born in Hazel Grove in the 1950s to a Peruvian mother and a father of Irish and Norwegian descent. She is the founder and director of the Lingua Franca World Music Agency, which represents professional musicians and dancers from a wide range of cultural backgrounds, and the associated Lingua Franca World Community, which aims to promote understanding between ethnically diverse communities via musical, artistic and cultural practices. As DJ Mayeva, she presents an eclectic spread of world musics, with particular focus on contemporary African dance music and African-derived Latin American and Caribbean musics. GELI'S MUSICAL LIFE STORY From a young age, Geli was surrounded by a ‘cross-section’ of music from different places, reflecting the diverse cultural influences of her home environment. While she listened to the popular American singer/songwriters and black soul singers of the time, Geli was also immersed in the sounds of Latin American music. Her mother, as the child of an indigenous Peruvian mother and a Spanish father, was herself mestizo and grew up in Gatley with foster parents. She had broad musical tastes and she shared these with Geli as she grew up. “I’m not sure that I even realised the influences were there until I was an adult! Mum would play Peruvian music a lot…and the old 1950s music which had strong Cuban influences…and she was also interested in Greek music. So she used to play me a real cross-section of music. I obviously took all of this in as I grew up…When the Buena Vista Social Club did their gig at the Bridgewater Hall, I cried the whole way through because every single song I had been introduced to as a child”. As a teenager, Geli also discovered folk songs from the UK and Ireland and Scandinavian cattle-calling, engaging with musical roots from her father. “I got interested in folk music when I was about 14 or 15. I remember hearing a duo, who used to tour around Greater Manchester. I remember it was a frame drum and vocals and it was very evocative. It was the folk songs from the mountains. It moved me a lot”. Nevertheless, she emphasises that it is the music of her mother’s side that has always had greater appeal for her. As a singer/songwriter, she started off singing bossa nova and ballads from across Latin America and her songwriting drew out different musical and cultural influences. “I started off singing bossa nova music and I’ve always carried that affinity for bossa nova music in my heart but, over the years, the interesting journey has been the way these influences just come out. I’ve written a jazz song, a tango, a samba, a fado, a reggae, a salsa…I’ve done a mixture”. However, Geli’s true dream since childhood was to become a radio presenter. Listening to off-shore radio stations like Radio Caroline and local broadcasters like Sunset Radio, she became ‘obsessed’ with soul music and other black music forms. She developed a ‘burning desire’ to get behind the microphone and she ended up working for several radio stations, including Jazz FM and ALL FM Community Radio, where she shared her love for music from different cultures. “My first 10 minute feature was called ‘The Musical Cruise’. I was ship docking and played a track and the listeners were invited to guess what country it was, just by the music played”. As part of an NVQ in radio production, Geli set up her own radio show, which culminated in her ‘Cultural Collage’ broadcast. On this basis, she ended up becoming a world music agent and organising her own events, including the Cultural Collage World Music Festival (2010-2013). “Cultural Collage became a huge part of my life. It ended up taking three days to four days every week to prepare it, and I wasn’t paid! It was through that that I started meeting musicians because I was inviting them onto the show. It was great actually – I found them, invited them onto the show for the interview, then took them for coffee, and found out loads about them. And then they were saying ‘Can you help us find work?’. So that was how it eventually became the agency…Then, I needed to get them seen, so that’s why I set up the world music festival, which ran for four years and was partly funded by me and partly by the Arts Council”. During the festival, Geli compèred the event, presenting artists onstage and playing her favourite tracks. Through this, she was invited by a promoter to run a stage at an event in Croydon in London, which instigated her career as DJ Mayeva. Today, Geli combines all of these musical activities together and she reflects that all of her interests are cyclical, continually feeding into one another. “I started off as a singer and then I went into radio. Then I set up an agency and then I set up a festival. And I’m kind of now coming back to my own music. I ended up as a world music DJ as part of all of that. I’m now writing world music songs with some musicians. I’ve come in a big circle. In terms of how I define myself, for this interview, it’s probably DJ Mayeva…I dabble in all things world music”. THE MEANINGS OF GELI'S MUSIC Geli states that the main purpose of her musical activities is ‘bringing cultures together’. On one level, this refers to celebrating her own diverse cultural heritage. “I decided to get in touch with my own culture and start spreading that. I’m doing a lot of study about man’s relationship with nature, because that’s very important amongst indigenous people in Peru…I’ve just written a poem, which I think will turn into a song at some point, called ‘Searching for the Blue’…and it’s about looking at the sky and looking for the good in life, influenced by nature”. On another level, it is also about promoting intercultural understanding by sharing musical and artistic practices. Geli explains that this latter motivation is specifically underpinned by her difficult experiences of growing up as a mixed-race child in Manchester. “I was bullied as a child. When I was a kid, I was very dark and I was racially abused, a lot. In the 1950s and 1960s, before Windrush, you didn’t see people of other cultures in south Manchester, so I was very rare. I just wanted to share my culture with other kids and they weren’t interested. I remember playing my mum’s traditional music to friends and they just weren’t interested. I just wanted them to understand me. So it ended up with me having this longing to share the music with people. I had a dream of having a radio show…purely because I wanted to share my experience of other musics and hadn’t really had that opportunity as a child…But, if it hadn’t been for that, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today”. Geli indicates that, whether as a world music agent or as DJ Mayeva, she is always aspiring to widen audience’s musical tastes and worldviews. “I really do feel quite emotional about the DJing because it feels like I’m finally sharing the music and getting people to dance to music which, at one time, nobody would listen to, you know?…When I select a particular track and think people might not like the track and they go crazy, there’s nothing better than that!”. She also highlights that, in a more immediate sense, her aim is to get audiences moving, as rhythm drives her own DJ sets and dance is at heart of many of the events she has organised. “I play anything that makes people dance, really…I used to dance salsa for many years…My favourite is contemporary African dance music. I’ve often had a young black guy peer around the DJ box and jump when they see me! I also play Latin music, Eastern European Gypsy music…pop music of black origin, like funk and things like that…Rhythm is the most important thing to me”. WORLD MUSIC IN MANCHESTER Geli states that her musical aspirations take more inspiration from the world of music than the Manchester music scene. She suggests that, in any other city, she would likewise be looking to bring cultures together. However, she reflects that, while Manchester may not have driven her interest in different cultures, music has helped her to discover different cultures within Manchester. “When I started doing the radio show in Manchester, I was interviewing all musicians who were based in Manchester and the majority of musicians I represent are based in Manchester…I wouldn’t have known about all the cultures in Manchester if it hadn’t have been for the radio show…And I do try to include some of the music of my artists on my playlists, wherever possible, to give a bit of exposure…so that’s the strongest link with Manchester”. She indicates that, while there has been some increase in interest in music from other cultures in Manchester, DJs and musicians still face many difficulties in the music scene, including exclusion, discrimination, funding problems and negative expectations. “The musicians haven’t had a voice…The United We Stream [scheme], which [aimed] to get Manchester artists online during COVID, was very British. I wrote to them and asked if we could get some of our musicians in and I didn’t get a response and this is kind of normal”. “At one festival, they tried to take my DJ equipment away from me because they said ‘There’s a guy on another stage who needs it’. They wouldn’t let my artists into the artist area because they said ‘They’re not the right type of artists’. It’s shocking. They were traipsing through mud because they didn’t send a cart and they were in full costume. That’s the lack of respect we have. There’s ageism, sexism, diversity-ism”. “People will only risk new music if it’s free. They’ll pay a lot of money to go and see somebody they’ve heard of before and know they like. When I was running the festival, if I put a five pound fee on something, nobody would come. I would get seven people. If it was free, because it was funded via something else, I’d get 200 people. People are interested…but, because people won’t pay to see world music, generally, smaller venues can’t afford to put them on”. “Professional world musicians have been downgraded in people’s eyes because some organisations had to keep refugees occupied with training and performances because they couldn’t work and they could put things on at very low cost or for free because they were funded but they didn’t differentiate between professional musicians and amateur musicians so what happened is that people who liked world music got to see really undisciplined amateur musicians…Don’t get me wrong – I think what those organisations were doing was very valuable – but…part of the fight I’ve had in getting people paid properly over the years is making people realise that there is a difference between amateur and professional musicians. A lot of my musicians were extremely famous back in their own countries. The first person I managed was Kanda Bongo Man, who would drop into conversation things like that he’d just played at Obama’s Inauguration”. However, Geli also suggests that there have been some positive developments in the scene. After more than a decade of campaigning, musicians now receive proper payment for performances, which she points out could not be assumed in the past. “When I first started, 99% of people wanted them to work for free…Nobody was getting paid, who came from that background. So it became a kind of campaign for trying to get paid properly…Now, it’s the reverse – there’s very, very few who would ask that and people are generally paid properly now”. She indicates that new projects involving collaborations with mainstream pop stars are also helping to give recognition to musicians and their music and that many festivals are now ‘nothing but wonderful’ towards the musicians. “I think working with more mainstream musicians…is where the recognition will come for them. I want them to collaborate. One of my musicians has already had session musicians work with Seal. As soon as you mention that to people, they’re interested. They’re not interested in music from Sierra Leone, until they hear it!”. Finally, Geli suggests that standout events, including performances at the Bridgewater Hall, have represented a claiming of spaces from which these musicians and their communities were previously excluded, demonstrating the possibility for a more inclusive music scene where different cultures are brought together through music. “We ran a world music festival in the Bridgewater Hall and it was wonderful. The festival was free, so it was packed all day…I had been approached by a drummer – at the time nobody in Manchester knew him so they wouldn’t put him on anywhere – and it was Sidiki Dembele, who is now very well known. I put him on in the foyer along with a Senegalese dancer, Diene Sagna…They were on in the foyer prior to a very famous West African singer on the main stage…The audience absolutely loved them…But I took my eye off the ball and, while the singer was onstage, Diene ran to the front of the hall and leapt onstage and started dancing with her…I forgot to mention to the Bridgewater that this is a tradition among African musicians – if they know each other, they will just join in. The next thing that happened is that Sidiki did exactly the same thing…and the audience went absolutely wild!”. “We put on a reggae [concert] in the bar [at the Bridgewater Hall]. There’s a guy called George Linton from Moss Side…I asked him to bring a couple of musicians…On the day, in walks about 30 people. The band was five but they’d also brought about 15 singers and they did all the old covers but with a different singer each time. All the British people ran off to the balcony because all the black people had taken over! They didn’t know how to respond. But they were up there dancing on the balcony. The Afro-Caribbeans had taken over the venue for themselves, which was unheard of in Manchester. Even though it is getting on for 10 years ago, they still talk about it and they still post photos on social media”. SUSANA BACA'S 'NEGRA PRESUNTUOSA' (SEE VIDEO) Geli selected this song from Susana Baca as one of the most meaningful tracks she presents as a DJ. Baca has been a pioneer in the contemporary revival of Afro-Peruvian music and Geli recounts first hearing the singer at a concert at the Bridgewater Hall. The lineup included Mexican singer/songwriter Lila Dows and Cuban singer Yusa alongside Baca and Geli had been drawn to the concert to hear the Cuban music. However, she discovered Baca’s music and she reflects that it helped her make connections between her love for Latin American music and West African music. Geli later met and interviewed Baca at a WOMAD festival, during which the singer dedicated a song to her personally. “I went to a concert that was Lila Downs, Yusa and Susana Baca. To be honest, I was more interested in the Cuban bit, not the Peruvian bit, but, when Susana Baca came on, I found it so familiar and this is when I discovered Afro-Peruvian music and I was completely enthralled. It helped me understand why I was so fascinated with West African music. That track helped me realise the connections I hadn’t realised”. “I met Susana Baca at WOMAD and she took one look at me and she said ‘You’re descended from one of the light skin black tribes in Peru!’ and she actually mentioned the area that my mum came from. She ended up singing to me personally and I really got emotional”. TRADITIONAL PERUVIAN MARINERA DANCE FROM PIURA Geli explains that this video is important to her because marinera dancing runs in her family and, for her, it symbolises the diversity of Peru and her own connections with it as someone who strives to bring cultures together. “One of my mum’s cousins, on the ‘official’ side of the family, was a marinera dancer. Her granddaughter is a current champion marinera dancer. There are lots of links with flamenco. What it symbolised for me is that the port where my mother came from was a real mix of cultures. It was Portuguese, Eastern European, Spanish, Japanese, African. It was a centre of cultures and I feel like I’m a centre of cultures too!”.

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World music; Peruvian music; Latin American music; African music; intercultural understanding

Geli Berg (DJ Mayeva): a world music DJ bringing cultures together

Name

Geli Berg

Ethnicity

Mixed (Peruvian/Spanish and British/Irish/Norwegian)

Area

Oldham

Researcher

James Nissen