Santigold Throws a Spirited Dinner Party

Before her new album comes out, the singer takes us from Brooklyn to South Africa with her Bowie-infused soundtrack.

Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Marc by Marc Jacobs

Santigold’s mix of electronica, catchy new-wave hooks, and reggae rhythms has made her music a party standard since her debut in 2007. She’s collaborated with artists like Kanye West, Mark Ronson and Lily Allen. Back in 2012, she spoke to Brendan about drum majors and tiger tales. Her new album, “99 Cent,” comes out this month. Here’s Santi to spin some music for a party that ends with moms everywhere trying their best attempts at dancing.


Santigold: Hi, this is Santigold, and you’re listening to my dinner party soundtrack.

Beastie Boys – “No Sleep till Brooklyn”

I’ve been living in Brooklyn for nearly 20 years now. It’s definitely home at this point. So, the first song of my dinner party will be called “No Sleep till Brooklyn” by the most amazing Beastie Boys.

I mean, just the hook, like, who comes up with that, you know what I mean? They always came up with these hooks that were just so cool-sounding. And the way they yell it at you [mimics the end of the chorus of the song] BROOKLYN! And you’re like… you’re just with them, you know? It’s an explosion of fun.

The Beastie Boys, first of all, they were like, my idols growing up. I did a video to “Fight for Your Right to Party” at the mall when I was 12, and it was amazing, and my dad threw it away, years later, once like, DVDs came out [laughs]. To this day, I’m so upset about it. But I love those guys, and I loved Adam Yauch so much.

David Bowie – “Ashes to Ashes.”

OK, song number two, a David Bowie song. “Ashes to Ashes.”

I love the intro. I don’t even know what instruments those are, but that [mimics song] ding, ding, ding, ding… ding ding ding!

I’m not really a fan of small talk. You know in the beginning of a party, and everyone’s kind of small talking? This is that moment where it’s like, all of a sudden, everybody just lets go of all the like, surface chatter, and just really starts to connect with each other. That’s the “Ashes to Ashes” moment at the party.

It’s just so smart. Honestly, I think David Bowie is just such a genius on so many different levels. And it’s rare that you have such a huge, huge spirit. Everyone feels so connected to people like that.

Brenda Fassie – “Vulindlela”

So, my next song for the party is by Brenda Fassie, who is a South African pop singer. I have no idea how to pronounce this, but it’s something like “Vulindlela.”

It’s really cool because, I just love like, the traditional African vocal tone, and like, the drum rhythms. But also, I love that she incorporates all these like, pop elements and like, this song particularly has almost kind of like, ’80s or ’90s sounding synths. It’s such a pop song and it’s so beautiful.

And then, the video is also super fun because it’s like, a crowd of people just like, having the best time ever┬álike we all are at my dinner party. So I thought it would be perfect. This is a dinner party of ghosts. In fact, no one that I’ve played is still with us, actually, and so, this is a very special dinner party because we’ve got all these spirits with us, and we’re like, dancing around the room with these great, great, great musical spirits. We’re following Brenda Fassie around the room.

Santigold – “Can’t Get Enough of Myself”

If I were going to play one of my own songs, which I rarely do, the song would be entitled “Can’t Get Enough of Myself” because that’s where I would be at if I decided to play my own song, I think.

My son, he’s not even two, and he’s got some moves! You know at the family party where, like, the little babies are dancing, and everyone’s like, “Go ‘head! Go ‘head!” [Laughs.] This is that moment. This is that moment, and then your mom gets up and is the worst dancer, and everyone’s just like, on the floor laughing. That’s this moment.