Masma Dream World is the pseudonym of Brooklyn artist Devi Mambouka. Born in Gabon from a father of the black panther people—the Bahoumbou tribe—and a Singaporean mother of Chinese, British, and Indian Brahmin origins, Devi lived a childhood of both violence and magic, of wealth and hardship.
At age 12, she ended up in the Bronx with her mother and two brothers in an even stranger land. She sought solace in the World Music section at Tower Records, seeking the mythical Africa that haunted her memories of childhood.
Over time, she found those fantastical sounds, too, in American and Western music: first in hip hop and R&B, later in ambient and drone. Devi became a vagabond of sound, DJ-ing all over the New York City nightlife scene starting at a young age with a fake ID.
Today, Devi lives in Brooklyn and studies sound therapy and conciousness. It is the mechanism that creates worlds that she channels through this leading edge, this music, her Masma Dream World.
I was introduced to Devi’s work through a friend and was immediately blown away by her creativity and truly unique vision. She recently spoke with me about her work and debut EP, Dream World.
Can you tell us a bit about your musical and spiritual background?
For me there is no separation between my music and spirit, at an early age, I knew that. Growing up in Gabon where music and spirituality were the same, singing bhajans with my mom in front of her hindu alter, that is the foundation of who I am and what the music that flows through me had to become. But when I came to the states, the separation of the two, seemed to be part of the western culture. That is why making this music in this environment seems important.
How does your spirituality inform your music?
We live in a spiritual environment, we are spirit concentrate into matter that we call our bodies, I am just being me and allowing that to flow.
Tell us about the video Élèphant and how it came about.
I met swedish costume designer Tove Berglund through a friend, we had never met in person before she came to New york, but we had Skyped for a few years before we decided to finally work on a performance piece. I was fascinated by the weave culture and what it represents as an exchange of energy. And when the piece was completed Tove and I were fortunate that Icelandic film maker Margret Seema Takyar was interested in joining our collaboration. Margret created the concept of having the contrast of light and darkness and I translated that in my performance. The song “Elephant” invokes memories of my childhood.
Tell us about your EP Dream World.
Words don’t teach, I could tell you all about it but my interest is how do you response to this music? I created my dream world, how would you ? and that is what it boils down to.
Where can we learn more about you and your music, and where is your EP available?
You can reach me at masmadreamworld.com, just shoot me an email and I would love to answer any of your questions or you can book a sound healing session with me. The EP is exclusively available on https://masmadreamworld.bandcamp.com/releases.