DeLeon’s Summer Mixtape

Daniel Saks gives us his 2011 Summer jam mixtape. Read More

By / June 16, 2011

I have been given the task of soundtracking the warm months. It’s a noble tradition as old as time and one I am honored to practice with you today. My approach this mixtape season was to draw from the experts, cultures who know heat the way you and I know schmear. I focused on the Caribbean and Brazil with a hint of Mexico and the Netherlands for good measure. Enjoy!

Wingless Angels – “Write My Name/Good Morning”:
This is my summer morning music. This is my tefilah. Pair this with a summer sunrise and fire your shrink.

Da Mastermind & Patch – “Rum & Roti”:

Who knows what better to do in hot climates than a West Indian of East Indian descent? Chutney Soca is a style of soca that incorporates Indian instruments and is popular in my home away from home, Trinidad. I love it and this song states an inscrutable fact worthy of singing along to at any bbq you’ll have this summer: “When they drink the rum, they only want roti.” They=me.

Jorge Ben – “Umbabarauma”:

Another great fusion of sounds from two hot climates (West Africa/Brazil) is represented in this Jorge Ben jam. He’s got a lot of jams but I chose this one because you don’t have to speak Portuguese to sing along. Also, this song is about soccer and who doesn’t like soccer? You don’t, but you should.

Café Tacuba – “Ojalá Que Llueva Café”:

This song came on during a picnic I hosted recently and I turned to DeLeon bass player Kevin and said “this is the best song I know.” Maybe it was the roast beef wraps talking, but Kevin nodded in agreement, took a sip of his Diet Coke and proceeded to belt out the lyrics along with me. I’m moving to Mexico City in a few weeks and I want my time there to feel like this song feels.

Shank – “Right From Wrong”:

On Purim we’re commanded to drink until we can’t tell right from wrong. For Trinidad carnival goers it’s more of a recommendation. I occasionally release soca music under the name Shank, and this song is me enjoying the bacchanalian spirit of two of my favorite festivals. What’s more summerly than dancing in the street in feathers?

Exuma – “Mama Loi, Papa Loi”:

It’s better in the Bahamas. Especially if you’re into songs about zombies and voodoo. I play the hell out of this record, and there is still a lot of hell left in there, so you can only imagine. Exuma was a Bahamian musician whose music was his own mixture of various Caribbean styles. Heat is it’s natural habitat and it’s best heard in the dark.

Gal Costa – “Índia”:

Put this track on and a hot day in NYC becomes downright tropical. Gal drips summer sultriness all over this magnificent arrangement climaxing in one of music’s great song endings. Make sure you play it loud and if that ending doesn’t move you then I can’t help you.

The Ex (featuring Getatchew Merkurya) – “Ethiopia Hagere”:

NYC puts on some fine free summer concerts and the single most memorable song I ever heard at any of the many dozens of free summer shows I’ve gone to is this one. This rocks so damn hard. It’s such an unlikely collaboration, Danish post-punk band the Ex and legendary Ethiopian sax player Getatchew Merkurya, but it’s so natural, so right, and it rocks so damn hard. I flipped my lid when I saw them perform this and it still gets me out of my seat any time I play it.

Hermeto Pascoal – “Música de Lagoa”

Hey look! A video clip! I must account for at least 1/4 of this video’s views. I absolutely love what’s going on here. When I picture my ideal summer afternoon, this is what I see. In fact if any of you want to do this with me, I’m down.

Daniel Saks is the front-man of DeLeon. Their new album Casata out now on JDUB Records, is a re-imagining of ancient Sephardic melodies as indie rock. Casata is available on Amazon, iTunes, and in the Jewcy Store for the special price of $8.99!