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Pearl of a DJ

DJ Pearl has turned the tables on a male dominated profession

PEARL IS among a handful of women who have stormed a male bastion - DJing. Today she boasts of a recognition that the best male DJs in the country enjoy. She set Pasha (at The Park) ablaze this past weekend with her unique magic on the turntable. But before she waggled the keys on the music mixer, she spoke at length about the ups and downs of being a DJ.

With her streaked hair, scarlet T-shirt and a smile that is brighter, she makes a statement even before she utters a word. When she speaks, you realise that she is someone who uses her head for something more than sticking a hairpin in. She has travelled widely. "I have been living out of suitcases," she says. It is during her globetrotting that she developed a taste for DJing. More precisely, while clubbing in Europe. But it was a long stay in Amsterdam that helped convert her love for DJing into a fulltime professional commitment. Though she "has learnt a lot from many DJs", she ranks Zavier Perek from Amsterdam above all others. He is her role model.

She is MTV VJ Nikhil Chinappa's girlfriend, but that has little to do with her popularity as a DJ. "Nikhil has been a pillar of strength. But I was into DJing much before we met."

Pearl says DJing is a profession where people will notice if you do not cut the mustard. And to make a mark, you should go the extra mile. "I used to practise for 14 hours a day when I was training to be a DJ."

What does it mean to be a female DJ? Is it true that female DJs are often victims of the silly and high-spirited behaviour of mischief-mongers? Or is it this just an assumption that has no relation to reality?

"This thinking is totally unfounded. When you are behind the turntable, people do not act smart with you."

Then why are female DJs thin on the ground? In fact, Chennai does not have one well-known female DJ.

"There is bound to be some resistance from your family. They are concerned about your security. Their families' over-protectiveness prevents many women from taking up this profession. In truth, there is nothing to fear. Female DJs face the same kind of problems that women in other professions do. Things will be okay, if you take care of your own security and act responsibly for yourself."

Is she planning a remix album? "I don't want to jump on the remix bandwagon. There is a lot of original music around for me to do that. I would rather incorporate original Indian sounds in my music."

She then staunchly applies herself to tuning the DJ equipment at the Pasha. She plays a "tribal house" track. Specialising in house music, she mostly plays dance numbers that have a fast beat, ones that are short on repetitive vocals and long on synthesised bass lines.

As the music picks up speed, Pearl loses herself in a world of rhythm and fast beats.


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