Honolulu Star-Bulletin ~ Isis Celebrates First Birthday

Friday, February 21, 2003 


“Sisters in Sound” consists of DJs Zita (Maritez Apigo), Marloca (Marlo Dowell), Toki (Cheri Allison) and Chia (Monica Chen)

Isis celebrates first birthday
Shawn “Speedy” Lopes / slopes@starbulletin.com

Commemorating their first year together sitting on the floor of DJ Toki’s fourth-story Makiki apartment, Sisters In Sound, Hawaii’s most celebrated all-female DJ collective, raise their glass goblets in a toast. Over a bottle of Vendange Syrah, the quartet concurs that like a fine wine, a good idea grows better with age.

This weekend’s shindig at Auntie Pasto’s on Kapahulu Avenue marks one year since DJs Toki (Cheri Allison), Chia (Monica Chen), Zita (Maritez Apigo) and Marloca (Marlo Dowell) went public with Isis, their popular monthly gathering. For a number of female DJs, singers, musicians and artists around Honolulu, Isis has been both a coming-out party and an inspiration to further their talents.”For me, it was an opportunity to work with other girls, throw a party and not have anyone tell you what you should play or how you should play,” explains Chia, who says SIS initially faced resistance from a vocal minority who saw no value in a gender-based DJ ensemble. Isis, however, has been less a rallying platform for females as a much-needed venue for aspiring female performers. “One of our goals in the beginning was to feature female talent of all kinds,” adds Zita. “We wanted musicians and dancers and singers to come in and express themselves through their art, so we created a comfortable space to do it.”

Replete with scented candles, hand-picked flowers and exotic hanging tapestries, Isis is a decidedly yin-charged, feel-good affair. While other nightspots are plagued by drunken revelry and the occasional brawl, Isis has no history of trouble. In fact, its biggest fiasco was the result of a heat-of-the-moment tryst between a pair of overly amorous partygoers, which culminated in a broken urinal and a dance floor submerged in water. “We all laugh about that now,” says Chia, with a smile.

While their positive-vibe parties have all been well-attended, sound system rentals and decorations usually leave just enough funds to ensure another function the following month. After one year, they’ve finally raised enough money to fly in marquee talent. Garage, two-step and ragga specialist DJ Robynn of the San Francisco Bay Area’s all-female Witches’ Brew DJ collective was recently selected from a pool of international applicants as Sisters In Sound’s first out-of-state guest.

As with previous joints, Isis will also feature local DJs, musicians and artisans of the fairer sex.

“It’ll be reminiscent of the last year that we’ve gone through,” promises Toki. “If you’ve been there at past parties, you’ll probably see a picture or a painting that might remind you of that night.”

Progress has been steady for Sisters In Sound, who have been branching out into other projects, most notably “Escape,” their new, once-a-month downtown get-together at Indigo. Keeping the intimate vibe of Isis, while expanding the concept to new venues which might accommodate a larger, under-21 clientele, poses a challenge, though it’s one the sisterhood would gladly embrace. “I really think what we’re trying to do would be a positive thing for them to see, especially the younger girls,” ventures Chia. “Female DJs, musicians and artists doing things they’d always thought about doing.”

Isis One-Year Anniversary

Where: Auntie Pasto’s, 559 Kapahulu Ave.
When: 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. tomorrow
Admission: $8 cover, 21 and over
Note: Free pupus at 10:30 and the first 40 paying guests will receive a mix CD by a Sister in Sound of their choice