Mika Raguaa – Germany’s SOCA Ambassador

By Kieran Khan (Trinidad Newsday – Sunday Women Weekly), March 1 – 2015

What’s Carnival in Berlin, Germany like? There’s definitely one person to ask. Mika Raguaa has been a soca DJ for Seven Years in Germany, Promoting the music across large swathes of the continent – from Macedonia to Ibiza with a growing fan base. And this is her very first Carnival at the epicenter of the global soca movement. WMN magazine caught up with her at Hotel Normandie this weekend.

Mika Raguaa (think of saying Nicaragua and you will get it) aka DJ Mika landed in Trinidad in early February to trace the roots of soca and experience first-hand the party republic That is TT. Sporting a newly tattooed on her left wrist Hummingbird, a testament to her love of TT and a cassette tattoo on her left shoulder, it is clear thatthere are few people in the world who love soca music morethan ago. Born in Poland but spending most of her life in Germany, she began her career with a partner as deejaying Sunny Friday sounds. “In Germany, we have selectors so in a sense I prefer to refer to myself as a Selectress! I literally started cutting Songs Onto cassettes back then and used to make mix tapes to impress a boyfriend or whatnot. I would make tapes of all kinds , “she says.

Her deejaying began with a mix of music but That Changed SoonAfter. “The first time I heard soca music, it was this positive Happy Feeling That I knew I wanted to only play that type of music.” The very first soca song she recalls is Rupee’s ‘Jump’. “Soca is so so collaborative – you have all thesis different artistes on one rhythm – and you have artistes collaborating on the same track and then to come here and see Bunji share the stage with Fay Ann; it’s like this King and Queen together – it’s just about love and good times. You can listen to soca When you wake up, you can listen to it When You’re going to bed, “she adds. Splitting from the Sunny Friday Partnership, she went single-handedly into soca, collecting as much music as She Could and playing at venues around Germany where soca, though niche, is growing. Will the genre ever go mainstream? She answers, “There are so many groups across Europe who hype the music – They share it passionately And They rent places and have soca parties, but I do not think we Should be waiting for soca to ‘reach’ Somewhere – It’s already out there. Maybe it can be like salsa music -. everyone knows salsa but it’s not in your face It’s okay for mainstream soca to be like that, “She Believes. Sitting on the table as we chat is a copy of ‘Governing Sound: The Cultural Politics of Trinidad’s Carnival Music’ by Jocelyne Guilbault did she just purchased at the bookshop at the hotel.

It’s clear That She studies her craft and knows it inside and out – her educational background being Media and Communication Sciences too. But yet here, she noted, she what often left to play last on some sets or what not even allowed to perform at all at a venue on Valentine’s Night in particular. “It was a little disappointing to be Given the load set. Being a female DJ I would think did all the promoters would want me in the fete! DJs here Need to THEREFORE not just stick to the popular songs. You hear ‘Like a Boss ‘six times in one set, then same from the next DJ. You have to pick the music, you have to decide and you THEREFORE have to feel the crowd, read the crowd and know what They Want. Nothing’s wrong with throwing a little chutney music in there too, “she says with a laugh! She’s been Constantly Promoting her skills downhere – running out of business cards and writing paper business cards Her Own as she taxied around TT. She even did noted in one maxi-taxi, the driver asked her where she what going with all her bags (with her CD’s and sound engineers) and she said, “I’m a DJ!” And he immediately Responded, “Are you DJ Mika!?” He had heard her set on 104.7 FM MORE earlier that week. “My maxi what pumping DJ Mika!” He Explained to her.

All good kudos for someone who hauled more CDs than clothes for her first Carnival experience. As for Carnival itself, she says, “You guys party hard in TT And the bodies – men and women are so beautiful and fit,” she notes. “For Berlin Carnival there are about ninety-six trucks totally on the road and two of Those are Exclusively soca trucks – the one at the back is always a soca truck and you find all the vibe there” Carnival is a similar but noticeably different experience there – whereby you can come in costume or simply join in the Carnival parade with your sports club etc via a tee-shirt of the same color. “It is a big parade though she adds – with Russians and Turkish and all mixes of thesis people and African music on some trucks too Mind you, some people have literally broken Their legs palancing at home!” For her first Trinidad Carnival Experience HOWEVER , she chose to play on Monday for a short time but not to play in a band for either Jouvert or Tuesday ‘pretty’ mas, “I was a vagabond!” she says excitedly, “I went for band to band, and I was on cloud nine” When not pumping soca tunes out to the European market, as Mika has another side to her DJ persona – The Bride Project.

Set apart from her Caribbean music mixes, you can find more at www.die-braut.net and even hire her for your weddings. She’s a prolific wedding DJ and she says a lot of wedding planners love that she brings a feminine edge to receptions and wedding parties – even performing in a wedding dress herself -. Cropped short though For the rest of her time in TT, she’s making contacts, soaking up the sun and living everyday here as if it’s an adventure. She’s even doing a spot of photography for something that’s coming up but we can not just yet say what it is (she swears us to secrecy!) If you would like to catch Mika on air, you have one more chance: This Monday at 1 -3 pm on 104.7 MOR FM! Tune in!


Meet DJ Mika The Polish soca lover

FLASH FETE - TRINI 2015

DOING HER THING: Dj Mika playing at Flash: Light Up The Night Cooler Event 2015 in Chaguaramas. — Photos courtesy DJ MIKA

Written by: Kimoy Leon Sing (Trinidad Express Newspaper / March 2015 – 01.03.)

In Trinidad, we surely love our steel pan, calypso and soca. These wonderful, infectious and rhythmic vibrations have found a way to wound itself around the heart of Polish native, Dominika Tux aka DJ Mika.
The blue-eyed beauty felt an incessant urge to go to the place that she considers the beacon of soca and experience what she has only had the opportunity until now to dream about. The 29-year-old left her home in Germany, packed a small bag; said goodbye to her parents and booked a ticket to the Caribbean and headed to Trinidad for one of the greatest shows on earth, Carnival.
During a recent interview at Express House, Port of Spain, Tux wanted to share her experiences from Carnival 2015 and her passion for Soca music before she went back
“This is my first time in Trinidad and the Caribbean region. Since I have been living on a very low budget, I always try and save some money from my work as a deejay. Finally, I saved up enough and was able to purchase a ticket and come to Trinidad,” she said.
For the first time she got to enjoy the festivities of Carnival. Tux saw the trip not only as fun but a chance to learn more about the culture and music of Trinidad. For the past seven years, Tux has been working as a deejay in Germany using the handle, DJ Mika and promoting soca music across the globe. Ironically her first name, Dominika which is pronounced like the island, Dominica; a place she has never been to — did not stop Tux from venturing into a different country; with a different language, music and culture completely different from hers.

Tux’s career as a deejay has afforded her the opportunity to play not just in her home country, Poland but Switzerland, Macedonia, Netherlands and Germany to name a few. She also looks forward to deejaying at Nottinghill carnival later this year. Determine to reach out to people from various countries that have never even heard of soca music, she hopes they would also get hooked on the happy music that brings feel-good vibes, she said.“ I was first exposed to soca music in South Germany,” Tux said.

“My best friend invited me to go to a club where they played reggae, soca and dancehall music there,” she said.Tux admits the music was contagious and from that day it irrevocably changed her life. “I was seeing this person talking on the mic and playing songs I had never even heard of,” she said. Tux then heard the infamous ‘Pull Uuuuup’ that is commonly spouted off by deejays. “I was like wow! What is this?” Tux exclaimed. She knew almost immediately whatever ‘this’ was; she wanted to be a part of it. At the time, Tux was studying ecology in South Germany and was trying very hard to please her.

She said: “After school I wanted to escape South Germany because I wanted to find out and experience what this soca music is all about. I then went to North Germany and I found another club that played Caribbean music (reggae) but it was empty. It was not like how it was in the south which was a big thing. This was more like nothing. There were about 40 people inside a club that could hold about 600 people. I was wondering what’s going on here…it was the same music playing and yet not the same response.”

Though Tux felt it was the best thing she ever heard, soca music along with dub-step and a few others are considered underground music in many parts of the world. She said: “My parents wanted me to become a biologist. Every month they brought me the National Geographic magazine and say to me look, look it is so beautiful.” Though Tux loves nature she knew becoming a biologist will only be a distant dream. She already found what made her happy. Much to her parents’ disbelief, Tux knew she wanted to be a deejay as her chosen profession.

She said, “I am still impressed by nature but it is not really my talent to be an ecologist.” Tux switched her major and obtained her bachelor’s degree in media and communications instead. While doing her degree, she realised her talent as a deejay, she said. She also found love with another aspiring deejay and the couple called themselves, Sunny Friday.

She admits though her parents were concern initially they eventually supported her decision. After a few years, they broke up and Tux focused on her solo career as a deejay in 2009. She said: “I have learned several languages such as English, French, Spanish and German to name a few. I just take all the things I have learned and bring music to the people. I don’t do it because I want to be a VIP, I just want to influence people with music and give them a good feeling.”

While in Trinidad, I got opportunity to play at 104.7fm three times and hopefully they will have me back to play again — not just soca but all kinds of music, she said.Though based in Germany, DJ Mika would not mind being able to deejay in the Caribbean on a regular basis. “I feel like I have this force inside me; I need to do it,” she said

“Soca parties in Germany are a lot smaller compared to Trinidad. We don’t have endless possibilities to bring soca artistes to Germany because it is so expensive. Of course we do have something like carnival in Germany called Berlin carnival which is a carnival of cultures. Everybody can take part and there are many people from different countries in Germany such as Turkish, Russia and Polish people — and everybody shows their own culture, their own costume with their own customs and traditions. For many years there were two big trucks spreading soca and it is developing more and more,” she said.

“Last year we had Machel Montano there; and the year before Shurwayne Winchester was there, we also had Fay-Ann Lyons and Bunji Garlin,” she said. “The first time I saw a person pertaining to soca was Maximus Dan and that was years ago. It was amazing to see the music you only just heard about,” she added. Sharing some of her top soca songs for 2015, Tux said, “I love ‘Lucy’ by Destra and ‘Respect Your Elders’ by Crazy.”

She noted while there were other songs she was fond of for the season, it was not very popular and received little or no airplay.
She said, “I really don’t understand because I was playing on a private boat party and there was one deejay that played ‘Like a Boss’ 15 times; I was counting.”
Tux admits it is difficult to understand why would a deejay would limit himself to one song since in Germany soca is soca and it does not matter what season or the artiste or where it comes from as long as it fits together nicely with the music; soca music we run it. Soca music is all year round while over here it is more seasonal, she said.
She noted that parts of Germany still see it as underground music but that is changing thanks to technology. She noted that people can now choose what they want to listen to and access information about other countries that they may never get the opportunity to visit in their lifetime with just a ‘click’ of your mouse. As a versatile deejay in Germany, Tux says she loves soca and finds a way to incorporate soca in all different kinds of music.

The Polish native is due back home in a few days and says she will treasure the memories she has of the island, music, food and the people. She plans to come back next year and hopefully have a longer vacation so she could visit Tobago. Though she admits one of the challenges of being a female deejay is being taken seriously, she says her talents as a deejay and strong work ethic has her booked for the next six months when she goes home.


MIKA RAGUAA / DJ MIKA – on a journey to Trinidad

TRINI 2015

DJ MIKA / MIKA RAGUAA – ON A JOURNEY TO TRINIDAD

… made with love for the caribbean music, culture and lifestyle

Special thanks to:

Akeem, Dave, Terrance, Timothy, D’Young Boss, Jevvon, Didi, Melanie, Glen, Zola, Darren,
Junior, Mayers Jay and Selector G Assassinz and all people i met backstage, on fetes or as a vagabond on d’road!

Sharon & Robert Amar, Mr Voice, DJ Miquel, Chest & Sen Sammy from 104.7 More FM

Kimoy Leon Sing (Trinidad & Tobago Express Newspaper) & Kieran Can (Trinidad Newsday)

Family Julien & Johnson: Sunshine, Pinkey, Dianne, Tony & the sweetest Kids Kenya and Kaleb
A very Special Thanks to Curt Johnson…

Music (SOCA) by:

Fayeann Lyons – break the world (2015)
Ravi B / Machel Montano – fettin like a boss (2015)
Machel Montano & Angela Hunte – party done (2015)
Ricardo Drue – vagabond (live + mix) (2015)
Mr Legs & Yung Image – no worries (2013)
Rajiv Samaroo – ola (Olatunji acoustic cover) (2015)
Machel Montano & Destra Garcia – come back (2015)
Machel Montano & Kerwin Dubois – possessed (2013)

Film (visiual & musicially) made by Mika