Mexican Sonidero Sound System Culture Online

From Dancing on the Streets to Social Media in Times of Covid-19


  • Moses Iten RMIT


I am both DJ and researcher, and this article was inspired by my reflections during the first weeks/months of the worldwide lockdowns beginning in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  DJs/musicians in the 'Global North' - including Australia where I’m based - were struggling to make themselves relevant as performers online.  Meanwhile the Mexican sonidero sound system operators of the barrios (“ghettos”)  amongst whom I’d done PhD fieldwork in 2019 and have inspired my work as a DJ/producer for 15 years, continued and expanded their already well-established online presence.  This is because the sonideros are well-accustomed to a significant part of their audience being in semi-permanent lockdown as undocumented workers stuck on the other side of the heavily militarised US-Mexico border.  In light of an increasingly online existence for DJs and electronic music producers on a global scale due to Covid-19 restrictions, this article aims to emphasize the significance of how the particular Mexican sonidero practice has evolved online as a powerful creative response to the struggles endured by their dancing public. 






From the Floor