Before I share my story, I would love to invite you to the regular open jam MIXTAPE.SESSIONS happening every Wednesday, 6:30 pm at ICC, Dancers Alley. All styles are welcome, all levels are welcome, YOU ARE WELCOME!
A jam session is an informal session of dancers coming together to train, exchange, and cypher. The importance of it is that dancers with different styles coming together to share their craft, uniqueness and it is always mixed with different levels, so everyone has something to offer and learn at a safe environment.
Wednesday jams have been happening before my arrival to Sydney in 2016, during the “Entertainment Centre” (commonly referred to as “The EC”) days.”
It started with some of Sydney’s Pioneers and long standing community members. One of which is Brooke Napalan, who now runs Street Beatz, and she continues building a strong Hip Hop culture in Wollongong. Brooke, her students, and students of her students are still coming down to ICC for the jam.
Then there was Danny Sayvong, who took over organising the jam. Danny is from ARTCRW – Fresh HipHop Crew in Sydney, check them out. He taught regular Hip Hop classes at Crossover Dance studio, and every Wednesday he would bring his students out to ICC to jam. At that time, Danny had the loudest, cleanest and crispiest speaker + the good music, therefore, sometimes people will stop by – myself included – for a boogie. After the jam, Danny would add new attendees to a messenger group chat. This group chat would share music, history, and build the community, so people would know when there was a jam.
Then the torch was carried by Danny’s students. Peggy Wei and Cassie Lynn – they have an event called Hip Hop Showdown coming soon, check it out – would pick up the speaker Danny left at Crossover Dance Studio, bring it down to ICC, have the jam. If someone new showed up, they’d invite them to the group chat Danny had created.
As dancers would move on to something bigger in their lives, the legacy to continue the jams would be passed on. So now it comes to me. As I co-own a big speaker with my crew mate from Riddim Nation Jamie Kha AKA Ja-Z carrying on the same tradition.
The name Mixtape.Sessions came from JA-Z. He thought about how sometimes we don’t know who is behind the music that makes us dance, the people who made such beautiful sound for us to dance to. So he brought a mixtape of Black Milk (producer from Detroit), so we could celebrate his music, appreciate his catalogue of work. The jam was over when the mixtape was over.
Now we make our own mixtapes via a collaborative playlist on Spotify. Every week we make a new one, with people adding music they vibe with. We come together, we celebrate each other’s favourite music, sounds, artists. And we dance until the mixtape is over.
Today, the group chat has 221 members in it. Many are from Sydney, but there are some members from different states, and some from overseas too. We also have an Instagram page, documenting moments in the jam. Here’s one video – the community, filmed and edited by Laura Huynh.
Now you know what it is, come down and jam with us at Mixtape.Sessions, WE GOT YOU.
Azzam Mohamed – Artist Representative Critical Path Board 2022 & 2023