Sounds of Philippines History


Just as the recent global diffusion of North-American hip-hop music spawned multifarious varieties of local hip-hop musics around the world, Afro-American jazz has also found new sonic faces in urban spaces that have welcomed it.  This we find in 20th century Asia, particularly in Manila where reception of jazz is inevitable given the fact that Manila has been one of Asia’s entrepot, a crossroad, a contact zone where the two-way traffic of ideas and music commodities converged.  The transnational exchange between “East” and West” is  thus deeply manifest in Philippine landscape from the 19th century kundiman which came perhaps from the 18th century Spanish fandango to the late 19th century when Spanish zarzuelas became vernacularized.  These are evident of transculturation or the mixing of foreign with local cultural elements.  The circulation of printed sheet music that incorporated local images, rhythms and colors–afforded by capitalism, technology and the market–was another case of host culture assimilating foreign expressions into the local.  The “Pinoy jazz” of post-Pacific war paralleled  these developments.

The UP College of Music presents two concerts demonstrating this music-language diversity or hybridity that fundamentally characterizes Philippine culture.  On September 6, 6:30 pm, Abelardo Hall Auditorium, UP Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Prof. Rayben Maigue, will render an all-Flipino concert of “Pinoy Jazz” from late 70s to present.  Historically, this repertoire is a witness to the age of postmodernity where mixing of disparate elements, leading to the birth of unstable hybridities, is the norm.  The concert, to be annotated by jazz historian Ritchie Quirino, will feature “works” by the best proponents in the genre in the Philippines such as Matt Catingub, Jun Palacio, Domeng Valdez, Willy Yusi, Bobby Enriquez, Boy Palacio, Ritchie Quirino, and the most influential of all, Angel Peña.   This concert also commemorates the foundation of UP Jazz Ensemble in 1978.

From this sajonismo, the College equally celebrates hispanismo in Philippine culture with a rare concert on September 13, 6:30 pm featuring Philippine salon music from 1860s onwards.  Dubbed “Tertulia sa Abelardo Hall,” this concert showcases popular musics from the pages of Philippine history.  The phrase “popular music” means music  that were circulated among piano-owning social class in 19th century urban Philippines, i.e., music played in the salons of middle to upper class of Philippines society.  The development of national consciousness in late 19th  century owed much to this group, i.e., Filipino ilustrados (enlightened).  They were intellectuals who exchanged ideas among themselves through print medium: the newspaper, books, and commodified printed sheet music of the past that the concert recreates in the present.

In cooperation with the UP Colleges of Home Economics and Fine Arts, this event will showcase pieces for solo piano, duo, instrumental trios, songs, poetry reading and dance by Prof. Augusto Espino, Jourdann Petalver, and with the special appearance of young pianist Lorenzo Medel.  Outstanding students of the College such as Charlene Magalit, Roxanne Abuel, Raymond Roldan, Ralph Taylan, and Guiseppe Diestro will join their professors in the event.  Prof. Pat Silvestre curates the show.  Spanish refreshments will be tasted during the intermission.  Prof. Lou Decenteceo directs the show, with Lex Marcos as designer.

Tickets to the jazz and tertulia concerts are at 200 pesos each.  Attendees to the tertulia concert are requested to don on salon society Filipiniana attire.”  For details, please call Josie Baradas at 929-6963 or 981-8500 loc. 2629.

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