On the Road With: DJ Auntie Flo on world music influences and living like a monk12/21/2020
DJ and producer Brian d’Souza, also known as Auntie Flo, talks about family ties to Goa, the inspiration behind his name and the mysterious blueberry wine he picked up in South Korea.
What is your favourite on-the-road moment?
The name Auntie Flo is a tribute to my 90-year-old auntie, who was born and raised in Goa, migrated to Kenya briefly with a lot of my family, then returned to her hometown.
I toured India in 2018 and after eight years of using her name, I finally managed to go and tell Auntie Flo all about it. She lives in a nursing home run by nuns in a village near Saligão in northern Goa and the whole visit was emotional.
She was slightly bemused initially but told me she loved music herself and proceeded to sing a variety of hymns in Konkani, her local language.
What’s your favourite city?
I’ve been to Havana twice and the energy and vibrancy of the city blows me away. It might sound clichéd but there really is music everywhere.
The first time, we played at the first ever Havana World Music festival, and the second was by invitation of the British Council to support The Rolling Stones at the Coliseo de la Ciudad Deportiva, an incredible venue.
The Museum of the Revolution in Old Havana, complete with gunshot marks on the central staircase, is a must-see also.
What is the best souvenir you’ve come home with?
I toured South Korea and ended up taking a tour to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) to learn more about the North. The DMZ is a strange no man’s land separating North and South.
You visit a viewing gallery with binoculars allowing you to spy on the North Koreans as they go about their business, which is very strange. I’m pretty sure the region isn’t famous for wine but I managed to pick up a bottle of sweet wild blueberry wine from the Baekdu Mountain.
It’s brewed with a 500-year-old secret recipe and can make ‘white hair black’ and the body ‘light and strong’.
What has been your most life-changing experience while travelling?
Straight after playing a New Year’s Eve party in Osaka, I travelled to the temple settlement Mount Kōya to spend a few nights with some Buddhist monks in Kōya-san.
I lived exactly like a monk for a few days. It was absolutely freezing but a beautiful way to start a new year.
Where are you hoping to go next?
Top of my list is Iceland. I’ve yet to see the Northern Lights despite two trips to Tromsø. I gravitate to colder places and I’d love to get some truly fresh air.
Auntie Flo’s new 24-hour radio station, Ambient Flo, is free but donations are welcome. Tune in now via ambientflo.com.
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