Interview: Dyani brings ancestors, medicinal sounds to Transcendent

We’re excited to announce that Dyani (he/they) will be performing for Transcendent 2022, a Hummingbird Mag virtual concert fundraiser for the Trans Women of Color Collective.

With a deep appreciation for the healing power of sound and storytelling, Dyani has been able to bring peace and solace to themself and others as they continue to master the art of sonic healing.

Holding events like their Sonic Rituals over the summer is important for Dyani as a way to bring his music to a spiritually open audience.

Dyani’s Sonic Rituals at Socrates Park, NYC in June 2022 was especially powerful. Their performance was late in the afternoon on a sunny, cloudless day. But then halfway through their set, when they had just made the transition from mixing others’ music to playing their own, it started raining.

Dyani’s audience stayed put despite the downpour, and what resulted was a beautiful moment of nature appreciation. Dyani said in a phone interview with Hummingbird Mag: 

“It felt like the rain and the birds and the nature all became this orchestral collaborative moment. Because so much of my work is [about] bodies of water and trees that I feel like I’m also in communication with, those are also our ancestors.”

Dyani mentioned he had been trying to honor West African water spirits over the last few years, so the moment was extra special. 

Photo credit: David Ortiz

Being of Ayitian and European descent, Dyani deeply cares for their musical lineage and sound’s ability to transmute pain. They spoke about learning of the importance of Black techno artists during their youth, specifically of Drexciya, a Detroit-based Afrofuturist techno duo.

Dyani’s limitless approach to their instrumental combinations and philosophies is in line with the ideals of the founders of techno music. Their album Under sees Dyani play a variety of instruments and sounds, featuring additional instrumentation by ella heron and vocals by YATTA.

“It felt like I was stepping into my power in a way that was just deeply healing,” Dyani said. “So much of that journey was just like me learning about my voice.”

Their experimentation sees the album take on a series of different tempos, tones, and vocal patterns. It’s a project that can’t be boiled down because Dyani is committed to an expansive mindset.

One of the most striking aspects of creating Under was Dyani finding the space to embark on the journey of transness.

“I think it really opened the portal for me and it allowed me to explore something with a little more grace and compassion.”

Photo credit: David Ortiz

“I think so much of being trans… and just queer in general, is like exploration and experimenting, seeing what resonates, what doesn’t, and kind of allowing yourself to do that despite the violence,” they said. “It was such a deep process, you know, like needing to go inward.”

Dyani spoke on why it was so important to have the solace of Under.

“I had these moments of quietude and convening with ancestors,” they said. “I feel like so much of this journey is about understanding that as humans, our bodies are always more than just us. We’re always a combination of everyone that came before us and I feel like transness is honoring that truth.”

Many thanks to Dyani and their team for the interview and performance! Make sure to tune in to Dyani on social media, Bandcamp, Apple Music, Spotify, and SoundCloud.

Make sure you don’t miss Dyani’s performance Sunday, November 20 at 6PM EST on Hummingbird Mag’s Facebook and YouTube. Please consider donating to the Trans Women of Color Collective’s Sankofa Project.

Fundraising runs until the end of November and any dollar donated gets matched by TWOCC’s sustaining partners.

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