For a year now, Skolnick and her DJ partner, Ernesto Morales (pictured), have been hosting a monthly global music party, Pico Picante, named for a South American tradition. Saturday they will lead a collection of Boston-based DJs taking the party to the streets with Nomadic Pico Picante, a truck-borne mobile sound system and DJ booth that will weave through the Boston area, starting in Somerville and winding up in Jamaica Plain. (Go to www.picopicante.com Friday for the route map.)
‘Well, it’s a party to celebrate a genre sort of unofficially known as global bass music. . . . And we do it for the music and as a social cause.’
Q. You and your DJ partner, Ernesto Morales, have been hosting the Pico Picante dance party once a month for a little over a year. What’s it all about?
A. Well, it’s a party to celebrate a genre sort of unofficially known as global bass music, which is simply taking traditional folkloric regional genres and putting them to an electronic beat. And we do it for the music and as a social cause.
Q. Talking about social causes, can you explain further why you started this monthly event? I mean, there are so many night life options in Boston.
A. Well, we’ve observed that Boston can be a very segregated place, no doubt unintentionally sometimes. But whatever the reasons, it can be segregated culturally, and for many other reasons, including money and social status. And music is a unifier. We wanted to provide this open, multicultural forum for people who were interested in being at a public party but maybe were too intimidated or couldn’t afford to party in the parts of Boston where other popular dance venues are located.
Q. Why and how did you decide to take Pico Picante to the street?
A. Pico Picante is a phrase you hear in Colombia. It is used to refer to parties that are held in poorer communities, where the musicians, the artists bring mobile or portable setups to the people where they live. So we thought we would do the same in Boston, because there are still people here who need to open their minds to people and sounds with different backgrounds from their own. As for how, we received a $1,000 grant from the Awesome Foundation.
Q. So this will be one part flash mob and one part parade?
A. Yes, Nomadic Pico Picante will be traveling to several points along a predetermined route and stopping along the way to play the music. And we encourage anyone in the vicinity to come close, join in, dance with us, and enjoy the music.
Q. You mentioned socio-politics, meaning you merge music with activism. What’s your current political cause?
A. I guess it’s changing cultural geographies and geographic boundaries in Boston, and finding the best way to take down barriers to create dialogues between all the amazing communities that exist in Boston.
Q. So who are you? What’s your musical background?
A. I guess my introduction to global sounds, particularly to Latin music, was at home. My mom’s Ecuadorian. So I grew up with Latin music. I’ve also been fortunate to live in different places, including New York and Spain. After I moved back to Boston a few years ago, I became a DJ. And immediately other people I knew in that music community and I began talking about accessibility for average people.
Q. Of the different places you’ve lived, which was the most culturally influential on your musical work?
A. Barcelona. . . . [T]here weren’t a lot of obvious cultural boundaries when it came to leisure and entertainment. Rich, poor, tourists, might all be in the same place in public, listening to the same entertainers.
Q. On a personal level, have you experienced people from different backgrounds coming together over your Pico Picante party?
A. Yes, actually. I’ve seen my mother and grandparents come and mingle with young people of different races and backgrounds and interests. And you know what? They loved it.
can be reached at james.burnett
@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JamesBurnett.