Out beyond the borders of town, by the light of the full moon, there is a dance floor unlike any other—defined not by architecture but by topography and the volume of the sound, and both performers and attendees—DJs and dancers—complete a transformation musical cycle, energizing each other from sunset to dawn.
This is the setting where the Desert Dwellers, Amani Friend and Treavor Moontribe, first met. The specific desert for this event in 1998 was the Mojave Desert, but these events were, and continue to be happening, at deserts across the Southwest and beyond. This convergent event happened to be an anniversary event for the legendary full-moon gatherings in the 1990s known as Moontribe.
Amani, originally from Santa Fe, had been heavily involved in organizing outdoor electronic music gatherings in the deserts of New Mexico, working with a Santa Fe-based collective called the Cosmic Kidz. Amani and Treavor found common ground in their shared desert landscapes, and began producing music together under the name Amani vs. Teapot, a name alluding to their passion for combining ethnic styles of music within electronic “progressive-tek-house” tracks.
In 2001, Treavor and Amani began to transition their sound. Under the name Desert Dwellers, they eased the uptempo vibe of their psychedelic tribal dance style to produce a collection of eight tribal ethnic downtempo tracks that they gave away as gifts at Burning Man.
This music hit a nerve that resonated deeply with their audience and has amplified outward ever since. Over a decade later, what began as a “side project” to their main collaboration, a gifting gesture in Black Rock City (home of the annual Burning Man festival, held on the dry lake bed of the Black Rock Desert in northwestern Nevada), has taken Desert Dwellers around the globe.
In 2012 alone, they played at a festival in Australia for the solar eclipse, followed by a winter solstice performance in front of the great pyramids of Egypt for a festival called The Great Convergence in 2012. Epic gatherings like these are held annually around the world with names like Symbiosis, Beloved, SONiC BOOM, Enchanted Forest, BOOM in Portugal, Rainbow Serpent and Earth Frequency in Australia, and in the US, Burning Man. Continue reading