About Me

I am passionate about sound and color. I work in radio, my first professional hosting gig was hosting WBEZ’s “Global Overnight” program in 2007. I  am currently host/producer of Reclaimed Soul, a weekly radio program on  Vocalo.org  89.5fm and 90.7fm (sister station of WBEZ). I am additionally Executive Producer of two other weekly programs on Vocalo:

The Barber Shop Show (hosted by WBEZ’s Richard Steele)
and Practically Speaking (hosted by Audra Wilson)

My mission with my productions is to illuminate issues and perspectives that are too often left out of mainstream media.

I’m a blogger at Darkjive.com who works to document the narratives, history, and cultural significance of the music scene in 20th Century Chicago. I’m a DJ who spins my “findings” across this city.
I have also worked with The Stockyard Institute (an experimental effort in pedagogy and a contemporary arts-based teaching organization in Chicago) to create radio with youth.

I taught Radio and Podcast Production and Media Literacy to High School students through YOUmedia (a collaboration between the Digital Youth Network, The MacArthur Foundation, and the Chicago Public Library), and recently completed a residency in which I worked to document Theaster Gates’ Dorchester Projects (an experiment in re-valuing the undervalued and rebuilding a community).

I also love Chicago: where we’re going and where we’ve been.

I believe in the power of out-of-the-box ideas.  Ideas can baptize our perceptions and forever change our view of the world, if we only believe  in possibility and ask questions (despite what might be right in front of us).  This site is intended as a portal to such change.  Look out.


13 responses to “About Me

  1. jduignan

    what a cool picture, and where is that button from??
    Jim Duignan

  2. HELLO,
    My name’s Cauleen, I’m a filmmaker working on a project here in CHicago. I keep stumbling ont your name whenever I do research, but it’s always AFTER you’ve spun somewhere – I’m just not hip to the Chicago scene yet.
    Can you please tell me when you are next spinning/performing/presenting?
    Thanks much. And check out my project website (which has been neglected of late) for the series of films I’m doing loosely inspired by Sun Ra, Chicago, and the cosmos : http://solarflareark.wordpress.com/about/

    • ayanacontreras

      Hi Cauleen, all of my events are posted on my blog: http://darkjive.com. In the sidebar, at the bottom, you can also join darkjive’s facebook page, where you can stay up to date with events (and inform like minded folks of pro-analog or music history related news/views/events).

      Thanks for reaching out!

  3. Nathan Hancock

    I heard about 30 seconds of your segment this morning on Morning Shift on WBEZ; wondering if you could direct me to your list of music that “walks the line between Gospel and Soul”? Or some links? I’ve been looking for something JUST like this for years and was unable to listen to the whole segment. Thanks so much.

  4. I’m listening to you all on WBEZ now and I’m going crazy because it’s so damn refreshing to know that there are others out there like myself who LUUUUUUUHHHHHH vinyl. Ha!

    Cheers to you ma’am,


  5. adammmmm

    Hey Ayana, found this site after heavy digging. Could you direct me to any forums or sites about Chicago’s Zodiac Records.
    I found an amazing vinyl while digging but can’t find anything more.


  6. J.R. Summers

    Hello Ms. Contreras… My name is Mr. J.R. Summers. I’m a WBEZ listener and my ears perk up whenever you come on. I give you the “Right On!” every time. :) Your background knowledge is remarkable.
    I have over 70 short stories written (All of them are true-I’m the leader of an interesting life) and I think you could have an ideas of ways to share them with the world. Maybe I can enhance your life as well. If nothing else, you would love them anyway just like I love what you do. I hope to hear from you.


  7. Ayana, I just wanted to say thanks for digging through all that music, most of which is outside my normal listening genres. I love it. There is simply too much music to have or experience it all without having help from people like yourself, picking through cutout and used record bins.

    Keep up the good work.

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