Saturday, June 30, 2012

MCO Foundation presents Young Artists' Series 2012

Three young musicians will take the spotlight as the MCO Foundation presents its Young Artists Development Program 2012 featuring the theme Today’s prodigies, tomorrow’s masters. These three young and promising artists will be featured in weekly concerts at the Filipinas Heritage Library with violinist Christian Tan performing on July 12, soprano Elainne Vibal on July 19 and flutist John Raymond Sarreal on July 26.

Violinist Christian Tan

The MCOF aims to develop young artists and prepare them for a fruitful music career by giving them the chance to have more experience, gain more exposure and endorsing them. The MCOF have invited artists like world renowned cellist Li Qin and pianist Carmencita Sipin Aspiras to conduct masterclasses for free so that local musicians can learn skills and gain wisdom from these masters and music lovers to appreciate and understand music better. Musicians who had been featured by the MCOF throughout the years who are doing well right are pianists Hiyas Hila, Rudolf Golez, Regina Montesclaros, Mariel Ilusorio; violinists Bee Seon Keum and Chino Gutierrez and a lot more.

Soprano Elainne Vibal

Aside from the concerts featuring the young artists, there will also be special performances offered by the MCOF. A tribute concert to Donnie Fernandez entitled Hommages will be held on July 5, 2012 at the University of Makati. Performing in this concert are her children who keep the memory of their mother alive through music: violinist Catherine F. Belleza, flutist/pianist Isabelle F. Belleza and cellist Therese F. Bonoan. Collaborators in this event are pianist Robert Alcala, conductor Ruggiero Barbieri and the Makati String Ensemble. Admission to this concert is free.

Flutist John Raymond Sarreal

Another special performance will feature three of the country’s finest artists today. Pianist Mary Anne Espina, violinist Gina Medina and cellist Wilfredo Pasamba join together for Trio: The Best of Chamber Music on July 20, 2011 at the Filipinas Heritage Library. Tickets to this concert cost P800. This series is made possible through the additional support from National Commission for the Culture and the Arts, Alveo Land, the City of Makati and the Friends of the Cultural Concerns of the Philippines

Here is the schedule of the upcoming concerts by the MCO Foundation:

Young Artists’ Series 2012

July 12, 2012 Christian Tan, violin
July 19, 2012 Elainne Vibal, soprano
July 26, 2012 John Raymond Sarreal, flute

July 5, 2012

Caherine F. Belleza, violin
Isabelle F. Belleza, flute/piano
Therese F. Bonoan, cello
Robert Alcala, piano
Ruggiero Barbieri, conductor
Makati String Ensemble

July 20, 2012
Trio: The Best of Chamber Music

Mary Anne Espina, piano
Gina Medina, violin
Wilredo Pasamba, cello

Violinist Christian Tan opens the MCO Foundation’s Young Artists Series 2012

Violinist Christian Tan

July 12, 2012, 6:30 PM
Filipinas Heritage Library
Makati Avenue, Ayala Triangle

Christian Tan, violin
Mary Anne Espina, piano

Violinist Christian Tan, a finalist at the 2011 NAMCYA Strings Category C begins the MCO Foundation’s Young Artist Series with a concert on July 12, 2012, 6:30 PM at the Filipinas Heritage Library.

Christian is the youngest musician to be invited to participate at the Asian Youth Orchestra's 17-city Asian tour. He was also single-handedly awarded with the Artistic Director Achievement Award by Richard Pontzious who is the founder and the music director of the orchestra. He is set to play pieces by Eugène Ysaÿe, Pablo Sarasate, Camille Saint-Saëns and Maurice Ravel. He will be accompanied by pianist Mary Anne Espina.

Ticket price:
Student and senior citizens discount apply

For inquiries:
MCOF 750-0768, (0920) 954-0053
Filipinas Heritage Library  892-1801
TicketWorld  891-9999

Icons at the Mall of Asia Arena: Masters of OPM

At a time when foreign acts have been dominating the local concert scene in recent years, Filipino music (OPM) and artists got a much needed boost during the concert Icons at the Mall of Asia Arena: Masters of OPM. This event, formally opening the Mall of Asia Arena at the SM Mall of Asia, boasted an all star lineup featuring the local music industry’s finest recording artists and more. Music icons Pops Fernandez and Jim Paredes hosted this one of a kind concert while Johnny Manahan handled the stage direction.

The concert started with an overture of Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika with the concert’s music director, Ryan Cayabyab conducting the newly formed ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra in their public debut performance. The orchestra’s principal conductor/music director, Gerard Salonga was among the thousands at the audience who filled up the Mall of Asia Arena that night.

Medleys dominated the whole evening as the acts were either paired or belonged to a group of three or four singing the works of a particular composer(s). The opening group featured The CompanY, Christian Bautista and Jose Mari Chan featuring the compositions of Mr. Chan. This was followed by the divas Rachel Alejandro, Dulce and Vernie Varga who belted out tunes by Louie Ocampo. Zsa Zsa Padilla was originally part of this lineup but Rachel stepped in when Zsa Zsa had to cancel her appearance to attend to her longtime partner Dolphy who was hospitalized days prior to the event.

A change of pace followed as Freddie Aguilar took to the stage and performed his signature hit Anak. Thank goodness that he sang alone since having three medleys in a row this early in the concert would’ve been too much for me already.

After this number, medleys once again ruled as Richard Poon, Jed Madela, Juris and Piolo Pascual paid tribute to Ogie Alcasid’s songs that were used as the themes of various television series. Right after this number, Ogie himself along with his wife Regine Velasquez-Alcasid performed a medley of duets. The songs the two sang, like Kailangan Ko’y Ikaw and Hanggang Ngayon were probably compositions that Ogie wrote for his wife.

Again, after two long medleys, there was again a breather and this time around, it was through a comedy routine of Wally Bayola, Jose Manalo and Pokwang. The trio did their usual antics complete with celebrity impressions of Mike Enriquez, Gary Valenciano and even Mommy Dionisia that sent the whole Arena rumbling in laughter. But since this is a concert celebrating OPM, the three also got the chance to sing and they did so with Ngumiti Tumawa Magsaya Kumanta.

The concert had been an almost strictly ballad affair so far so that the number that had G-Force dancing to a snippet of Hallelujah gave the night a much needed tempo boost. And the younger demographic was also served in this concert by the inclusion of Bamboo as dished out one of his biggest hits Noypi, still backed up by G-Force. This rocking number also gave the orchestra the chance to shine especially aided by the superb arrangement of the song by Ryan Cayabyab.

After this, it was back to medleys consisting of ballads once again as Arnel Pineda and Lea Salonga, two Filipino singers who’ve had international success, paid tribute to the compositions by Odette Quesada and Gerry Paraiso. Arnel had a rough start with his song and this was made more obvious since Lea was her usual self, always bordering on perfection. The last medley focused on the male balladeers namely Erik Santos, Martin Nievera and Basil Valdez performing the classics by George Canseco, Willy Cruz and Ryan Cayabyab. Erik was very vocal about his admiration for both Martin and Basil so it must have been such a thrill for him to be singing with them in the same number.

Gary Valencinao was announced as one of the performing artists but he only appeared through a music video of a new song that was composed by Ryan Cayabyab to be debuted at this event as a tribute to Henry Sy, the man behind the SM Empire. Another tribute to Mr. Sy capped the show as most of the performers, including the hosts, sang The Impossible Dream which was the only non-OPM song performed that night (if one doesn’t count the snippet of And I am Telling You sang by Pokwang as she impersonated Jessica Sanchez during the comedy bit).

ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra's Gerard Salonga and RAd

The whole concert was a nice celebration of OPM throughout the years. But for me, it was too much of a retrospective and didn’t highlight much of the current OPM scene considering that included in the concert were artists who’ve had albums with new material released within the year. In fact, there were only a few who sang songs that they’ve actually recorded and I did wish that everyone else were given the chance to sing their own songs. The number of medleys in this concert also weighed me down. I’ve been vocal before that I’m not a fan of too many medleys in a show. But I do understand that Ryan Cayabyab had to resort to them since there were just too many singers and songs that he had to present the numbers efficiently without stretching the concert for too long. But I do believe that this was just the start in revitalizing OPM in the concert scene. Also, a lot of the artists involved in the concert had already expressed their desire for more shows like this. I just hope that in the future, current and original songs by artists who are still actively making records will be given the chance to be heard on the concert stage. It’s through this that local music will be fully revitalized.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Landings and Takeoff

Italian painter, stage designer and ceramist Nino Quartana welcomed guests at the San Agustin Museum as he opened his latest exhibit Landings and Takeoff. This exhibit, part of the Embassy of Italy’s celebrations of the 65th anniversary of the Philippine-Italian diplomatic relations, consists of Quartana’s works depicting stylized urban/rural Philippine landscapes as if viewed from an aircraft window.

Having lived in the Philippines for five years now, he has developed a kinship with the country as he included the Mayon Volcano in some of the works at the exhibit. One earlier work also included at the exhibit is Bahala Na Si Batman that embodies the Filipinos’ carefree and relaxed attitude even in times of distress.

Emanuela Adesini, Nino Quartana and Madame Silvana Novelli-Fornari

One of the new works that caught my eye in this exhibit was Bon Voyage Jean Giraud – Homage to Jean Giraud (Moebius). It also showed a stylized Philippine landscape complete with the Mayon Volcano in the background but with a touch of Moebius that fit very well with the exhibit’s title Landings and Takeoff. Another interesting work is Mayon 2110 in which the fields surrounding the volcano has given way to urbanization.

An Eventful Landing in the Kontea of Kokonino
- Homage to George Herriman

See the 19 lanscape paintings in the exhibition over at the San Agustin Museum located inside Intramuros. The exhibit Landings and Takeoff runs up to July 14, 2012. Part of the proceeds will be donated to the museum to fund the restoration of wooden sculptures and frescoes.

K-La Rivera Bloggers' Meet Up

K-La Rivera

K-La Rivera made her mark in the music industry when she made it as a finalist at Star Power, the talent search at ABS-CBN that was hosted by Ms. Sharon Cuneta. Since then, K-La has been building a name for herself not just as a vocalist, but also as a theater actress as well.

After appearing in Atlantis ProductionsIn the Heights, K-La will soon return to the theater stage as Princess Jasmine in the musical adaptation of Disney’s Aladdin together with Tom Rodriguez who will be playing the title role. During a bloggers’ meet up that happened at The Kitchen of Cakes and Coffee at Tomas Morato, I asked K-La how it feels like knowing that Lea Salonga, who provided the singing voice of Jasmine for the original animated film version of Aladdin, is very likely watch her. She admitted that that thought never occurred to her until I brought it up. She went on to say that it made her tense thinking about it since Lea Salonga IS Princess Jasmine.

Since Disney’s Aladdin is still months away, K-La is focusing right now on her album under Star Records.  Her album consists of five tracks made up of cover songs. Her wide vocal range enables her to keep up and be at par with the numerous belters in the country, but the material she was given in this album sadly don’t do much to make her stand out from the rest. K-La’s Say That You Love Me and Inseparable suffered from too many unnecessary leaps and runs that strayed away from the melodic flow of the song. But she holds promise in the Someone’s Always Saying Goodbye that showcased some grit and her restraint in You’re All That I Need actually showed more character, personality and pizzazz. All five tracks in this album also have minus one versions. One song recorded by K-La that wasn't included in this album is I’m Feeling Sexy Tonight, a fun, upbeat track that was featured in the movie The Adventures of Pureza: Queen of the Riles.

K-La may not be a household name yet, but things look promising for her especially when the curtains rise for Disney’s Aladdin later this year. I told her that it will not surprise me when people start calling her Princess Jasmine instead of K-La once the musical starts. The songs in her current album were able to show her vocal prowess and her range, but I do hope that she gets to include more original material as well her own compositions in future recordings. K-La's debut album is available for download at Star Records and at
MyMusicStore Philippines.


1. Love Has Come My Way
2. Say That You Love Me
3. Inseparable
4. Someone’s Always Saying Goodbye
5. You’re All That I Need
6. Love Has Come My Way (Minus One)
7. Say That You Love Me (Minus One)
8. Inseparable (Minus One)
9. Someone's Always Saying Goodbye (Minus One)
10. You're All That I Need (Minus One)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Ang Bagong Harana

Marvin Gayramon, Al Gatmaitan, Janine Santos and Charley Magalit

The Philippine Opera Company’s Ang Bagong Harana was the little show that could. This show that was directed by Floy Quintos pinned its hopes on the songs that embody the soul and essence of the Filipinos at a time when the same Filipinos seem to be hooked more on songs from foreign lands. Ang Bagong Harana did manage reignite the fire and passion in the soul of the Filipinos as its original staging was one of the cultural success stories of 2011. This success led to a recent limited re-run engagement at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium over at the RCBC Plaza which I was very fortunate to see.

Ang Bagong Harana is a musical revue that featured songs from traditional folk tunes up to OPM classics that were performed by ten, up and coming classically trained singers namely Jack Salud, Karla Gutierrez, Nazer Salcedo, Charley Magalit, Janine Santos, Lawrence Jatayna, Al Gatmaitan, Aizel Prietos, Marian Santiago and Marvin Gayramon. These songs were grouped thematically in suites that were interspersed with dance numbers by the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group.

The show started going back to the time of innocence with traditional songs that were part of the older generation’s childhood. After that, traditional music from the northern and southern Philippines was given the spotlight. The mood turn to celebrating as the show highlighted the merry making during a town fiesta. The atmosphere then turned darker as the first act ended with the Philippine Revolution in the late 19th century with the romantic kundiman serving as the soundtrack.

The show resumed with a feel good show stopper that served as homage to Sylvia La Torre, during her heyday. Familiar music by George Canseco, Willy Cruz and Ryan Cayabyab were given poignant interpretations by the singers when they performed a medley of these composers’ greatest hits. The show ended with iconic and patriotic songs like Anak and Ako ay Pilipino and went back full circle as the show returned to the time innocence that came with childhood.

In about a couple of hours, the audience went through a musical journey that explored the soul and essence of the Filipino. Most Filipinos in the audience were moved and gave a standing ovation during the curtain call. I also heard that some foreigners who were able to see the show responded positively to Ang Bagong Harana proving that Filipino music in its original and purest form do transcend language and cultural barriers.

My only wish for this show was that the vocal arrangement gave the group more harmonies to work with. There were moments that the harmonies were exquisite but they were too few and far in between for my liking. I just hoped that there could’ve been more complex and intricate harmonies considering that the cast are competent and talented vocalists.

There might be more room for improving the harmonies in the future since this repeat engagement turned out to be a huge success as well. And because of this, Ang Bagong Harana is slated to return once more for another run. The Philippine Opera Company’s artistic director, Karla Gutierrez feels that the show is a musical journey that every Filipino should take. And with another run coming up, they are getting closer to that goal which is not bad for a project that started out as the little show that could.

Friday, June 22, 2012

French DJ collective Chinese Man headlines Fête de la Musique

June 23, 2012, 4:00 PM - 2:00 AM
Main Stage
Makati Avenue between Kalayaan and Valdez Street

4:00 PM Brigada feat. Paul Zialcita                       
4:45 PM Julien Drolon
5:30 PM Cynthia Alexander                        
6:15 PM Johnny Alegre Affinity feat. Alvin Cornista
7:00 PM The Blue Rats feat. Cooky Chua
7:45 PM Jonan Aguilar feat. Tondo Tribe
8:30 PM French DJ Chinese Man
10:00 PM Flippin’ Soul
10:45 PM Indio I
11:30 PM HIJO
12:15 AM Pepe Smith

It’s Fête de la Musique time once again and everyone is hoping for the weather to cooperate this June 23, 2012, from 4:00 PM up to 2:00 AM over at Makati Avenue as people converge for a grand street party concert highlighted by French DJ Collective Chinese Man. The group, composed of High Ku, SLY and Zé Mateo who are currently on a South East Asian tour will be joined at the main stage by 10 Filipino acts namely Brigada, Paul Zialcita, Cynthia Alexander, Johnny Alegre Affinity featuring Alvin Cornista, The Blue Rats featuring Cooky Chua, Jonan Aguilar featuring Tondo Tribe, Flippin Soul Stompers, Indio I, Hijo, Pepe Smith and Manila-based French singer Julien Drolon.

The main stage will be located at the corner of Kalayaan Avenue and Makati Avenue. The following pocket venues will feature different music genre stages: Time (Electronica stage, Kyss (Hip-Hop stage), St. Giles Hotel (Jazz stage), Chihuahua (Latin stage), Society Lounge (World/Reggae/Ska stage), Heckel and Jeckel (Soul and Blues).

The press release describes Chinese Man’s sound as a blend of Hip-Hop, Dub, Afro-Beat, Baile Funk, traditional music and forgotten samples. Having released Groove Sessions Vol. 1 & 2 and their latest Racing with the Sun, Chinese Man is considered one of the most innovative DJ collectives in France. There’s even a quote by Chinese Man, “The race with the sun is on... the quest for Zen mind and music exchanges continue!” and I await what this experience will be like for me.

Fête de la Musique 2012, a FrancoPhil event, is organized by the Embassy of France to the Philippines, the Alliance Française de Manille with Rustan’s, the City of Makati, B-Side (the Collective) and San Miguel. Fête de la Musique is also organized with the support of: Air France-KLM, BPI, Pernod Ricard Philippines, Institut Français, Spedidam, Barangay Poblacion and MAPSA. Pocket venues partners: Time, Kyss, Chihuahua, Heckle and Jeckel, St. Giles Hotel, and Society Lounge; and with our media partners, BusinessWorld, High Life, and Myx Music Channel.

For inquiries:
Sabrina Durand 895-7585, 895-7441, (0917) 892-8968,
Astrid Renoux

Monday, June 18, 2012

Noel Cabangon's Tuloy ang Byahe Listening Session

Noel Cabangon

After 2011’s Panaginip, Noel Cabangon’s goes back to re-introducing some of Filipino music’s treasures from the past years to today’s listeners as he releases his latest album Tuloy ang Byahe. This album, his third under Universal Records, is the thematic follow up to his double platinum seller and Awit Award winning album Byahe released back in 2009. Tuloy ang Byahe continues Noel Cabangon’s musical journey down memory lane via 16 well-loved OPM classics along with some interesting regional tunes personally handpicked by him.

Having an album with 16 tracks coming from someone like Noel Cabangon, known primarily as a folk/acoustic act, carries the risk of sounding monotonous. He avoids this by adding more variety, texture and color via the arrangements and inclusion of instruments, like the flugelhorn and harmonica that are not normally associated with an acoustic set up. The flugelhorn was used in a more laidback and relaxed version of Paano, originally sung by Dulce. The harmonica gave character to the bossa nova tinged Kahit Na, a Zsa Zsa Padilla original. Pumapatak ang Ulan (originally by the APO Hiking Society), on the other hand, was given the 6/8 time signature treatment reminiscent of Byahe’s Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika. Smokey Mountain’s biggest hit, Kailan underwent a minor change in the lyrics shifting the perspective of the song from an unrequited teenaged girl crush to a more mature and brooding male angle. The Visayan folk song Usahay and a new composition in Noel’s native Ilocano dialect Sika Laeng Iti Biag give the album a rural feel which is nicely complemented by Hotdog’s Manila, given the urban vibe by collaborator Gloc-9. Anak by Freddie Aguilar, Handog by Florante and Malayo Pa Ang Umaga by Rey Valera serve as poignant moments in this album. There are more tracks in this album that resonate clearly with the Filipino soul and Noel Cabangon’s renditions and updates don’t deviate much from the essence of these songs.

Noel Cabangon at Radio Republic’s Live at 2299

I’ve also had the chance to meet Noel Cabangon recently at Radio Republic when he performed for the station’s Live at 2299 program. Tuloy ang Byahe wasn’t released back then so he performed songs from his previous releases. After the program, I’ve had the great pleasure of discussing with him various aspects of the local music industry. It was an enriching experience hearing his views and insights regarding the industry considering that he is also the current president of Filipino Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, Inc. (FILSCAP). Whenever I listen to his records (specifically his latest releases Byahe, Panaginip and the subsequent Christmas repackaged edition and now, Tuloy ang Byahe), I realize immediately how his music, whether his originals or covers, connect not just with Filipino listeners but also with foreigners residing here as well. And having the opportunity to talk with him also made me realize why he is one of the most respected persons in the music industry. I will not be surprised if Tuloy ang Byahe will continue reaping the same success and accolades that his previous album has achieved.

Noel Cabangon’s Tuloy ang Byahe, released by Universal Records is now available at record stores nationwide. Its carrier single Tuwing Umuulan at Kapiling Ka and the rest of the album is also available for download over at MyMusicStore Philippines.

Tuloy ang Byahe

1. Tuwing Umuulan at Kapiling Ka
2. Anak
3. Kahit Na
4. Kailan
5. Malayo Pa ang Umaga
6. Ikaw Lang ang Aking Mahal
7. Usahay
8. Huwag Mong Sabihin
9. Sika Laeng Iti Biag
10. Paano
11. Lagi Na Lang
12. Iduyan Mo
13. Pumapatak ang Ulan
14. Manila with Gloc-9
15. Joey’s Theme (Umaga na Naman)
16. Handog

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Italian National Day 2012 (Festa della Repubblica 2012)

Ambassador Luca Fornari delivers a speech

My relationship with the Embassy of Italy began because of music. A year ago during the Italian National Day 2011 celebrations, I was the tambourine guy who joined Eugenio Bennato and the Taranta Power on stage during their encore number. Since then, I’ve had the honor to be part of their cultural events like the Moviemove: Italian Cinema Now, Le Supplici dance performance and Faces of Pinoy Rock. Almost a year later since that tambourine moment, I found myself in yet another celebration of the Italian National Day, one that also celebrated the 65th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Italy. This time around, the celebration centered on Italian food which is very close to the Filipino soul, or stomach if I may say.

RAd with the carabinieri, Mauro and Giovanni

The event happened at the residence of Ambassador Luca Fornari and his wife Madame Silvana Novelli-Fornari who warmly welcomed their guests that I heard reached to around 600. Fortunately, these guests were well fed courtesy of Margarita Fores and Chef “Marietta” Carla Brigiladori. Along with them was Mayor Paolo Zoffoli of Forlimpopoli who flew in here to sign an agreement a couple of days before to open a branch of Casa Artusi here in the Philippines. Casa Artusi is a culinary institution founded by Forlimpopoli native Pellegrino Artusi (1820-1911) who is considered the father of Italian cuisine. Artusi was the one who established traditional Italian cuisine (and unified the country as well) through his book La scienza in cucina e l'arte di mangiare bene translated as The Science of Cooking and the Art of Eating Well. So having a branch of Casa Artusi in the country is truly a big deal in the culinary world in here. The school is expected to open sometime in 2013.

RAd and Ambassador Luca Fornari enjoying the gelato

The guests who were there didn’t have to wait for 2013 to taste authentic Italian cuisine since food prepared the Artusian style was abundant during the event. Buffet tables were placed all around the area and I found it very difficult to figure out what to eat since there were so many tables and dishes to choose from. In between feasting on the food and consuming glasses of wine, I managed to have brief conversations with Israeli Ambassador Menashe Bar-On and Madame Eti and also with Argentinean Ambassador Joaquin Otero and Madame Marta Otero. I was also able to see other familiar faces as well like Rob Hayden from Lyceum, CCP President Dr. Raul Sunico and Nestor Jardin, also from CCP. Despite my best efforts, I wasn’t able to talk to Former President Fidel V. Ramos who was there as well along with his daughter Cristy Ramos Jalasco. I’ve wanted to have a photo with him but the opportunity never came. But I’ve had a photo with the carabinieri in full uniform, a huge hit that evening since a lot of the guests had photos with them as well.

RAd with Argentinean Amb. Joaquin Otero and Israeli Amb. Menashe Bar-On 

I wished that I could’ve eaten everything that was served but that wasn’t possible since my stomach could only take so much food. But I was glad that I was able to have some gelato and also the dessert composed of various cakes and sweets which I really saved until the very end. If the food in this celebration is an indication of what the Casa Artusi will bring forth to the Philippines, then I welcome it with open arms. Thanks once again to the Embassy of Italy, Ambassador Fornari, Madame Silvana, Emanuela, and Isis for the experience and the opportunities (and especially the food and wine).

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Reunion: An Eraserheads Tribute Album Listening Session

Johnoy Danao

Some younger friends normally joke that I am already old when they are reminded that I am already in my thirties. They may joke all they want but there’s one great thing about being my age: I’ve spent my teenage years with the music of the Eraserheads when it was all happening. I witnessed that time when the release of the band’s album Cutterpillow wasn’t just a music event but a pop culture event as well. People who are currently in their twenties and in their teens were still too young to comprehend how big Eraserheads was and they can only just imagine how it was back in my time.

6cyclemind with Eunice of Gracenote

The Eraserheads, composed of Ely Buendia, Raimund Marasigan, Buddy Zabala and Marcus Adoro, have come and gone but their legacy goes on, influencing a new generation of listeners and musicians as well. So it’s no surprise that after Ultraelectromagneticjam! back in 2005, another tribute album celebrating the band’s music has been released. This album entitled, The Reunion: An Eraserheads Tribute Album, released by Star Records is a compilation of 14 anthemic Eraserheads songs interpreted by some of the country’s most formidable bands and solo acts from various genres. The track Minsan sung by Callalily is the album’s carrier single.


To celebrate the release of this album, a listening/jamming session was held at Skarlet Jazz Kitchen at Timog Ave. which was attended by some of the acts who are included in the album. Highlight of that evening were the performances by Johnoy Danao who gave an intimate rendition of Pare Ko. The band 6cyclemind along with Eunice of Gracenote rocked it out with Alapaap. The last performance of the evening was by Callalily dishing out the carrier track, the nostalgic Minsan. Also present were artists who contributed tracks to the album namely Ney and Yeng Constantino (Kailan), Harlon Agsaoay aka Norma Love who appeared sans make up (Tanya Markova for Hey Jay), and Kevin Roy (Razorback with Gloc-9 for Superproxy). Other tracks in the album are Overdrive by Vin Dance, Fine Time by Marc Abaya of Kjwan, Kaliwete by Hilera, Maling Akala by Itchyworms, Ligaya by Mayonnaise, Ang Huling El Bimbo by Jay Durias, Magasin by Chicosci, and With a Smile by Aiza Seguerra with Mike Villegas.

Kevin Roy, Kean Cipriano, Aaron Ricafrente and Tatsi Jamnague

In line with the release of the album, Star Records also launched its Soundtrip to Roadtrip Promo wherein a purchase of the CD at selected SM, Astrovision/Astroplus and Odyssey Music and Video Stores entitles the lucky buyer a chance to win a Chevrolet Spark. The promo runs from May 14, 2012 until August 3, 2012. Complete promo details can be found over at Star Records fanpage.

The Reunion album, produced by Darwin Hernandez and Rye Sarmiento of BBS is available at leading record bars nationwide. It is also available for download via Star Records and MyMusicStore Philippines. Also in support of this album is the clothing line Dickies.

Reunion: An Eraserheads Tribute Album

1. Ligaya
2. Maling Akala
3. With a Smile
4. Minsan
5. Kaliwete
6. Pare Ko
7. Kailan
8. Overdrive
9. Magasin
10. Hey Jay
11. Alapaap
12. Super Proxy
13. Ang Huling El Bimbo
14. Fine Time

Monday, June 11, 2012

Anton Juan puts new spin on Madame Butterfly

June 22-23, 2012, 8:00 PM
Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater)
CCP Complex
Pasay, Metro Manila

Mako Mishimoto, soprano
Dante Alcalá, tenor
Camille Lopez-Molina, soprano
Andrew Fernando, baritone
Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra
Lim Yau, conductor

“The music event of the year” were the strong words that MusicArtes Inc. had for Madame Butterfly during the press conference for this production that was held recently. Madame Butterfly will be the second opera to be staged at the Cultural Center of the Philippines this year, the first being La Traviata and it all happens on June 22-23, 2012, 8:00 PM at the CCP's Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater). The opera, with well loved music by Giacomo Puccini will be brought to life by Japanese soprano Mako Nishimoto, Mexican tenor Dante Alcalá and the Philippines’ very own, soprano Camille Lopez-Molina and baritone Andrew Fernando. The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Singaporean Maetsro Lim Yau will provide live accompaniment for this limited two night performance.

Cio-cio San understudy Fame Flores

I’ve been a huge fan of Puccini’s music and I’ve always imagined that my first ever opera experience would be one of his works. La Traviata was my first ever opera but I don’t mind at all having Madame Butterfly as my second. One thing that I didn’t mind at all was having Dr. Anton Juan as the director along with Maestro Francisco Feliciano as music director. The first thing that came to mind when I read Dr. Juan's attached to this production was a play that he wrote, starred and directed titled Sakurahime that I saw almost seventeen years ago. This play that was also set in Japan gave me a glimpse of how amazing the mind of Dr. Juan works and it made me curious as to what his approach will be for Madame Butterfly. Equally interesting is the inclusion of designer Leeroy New who will be in charge of set and costume designs. Dr. Juan also discussed seemingly abstract concepts like memory that he will incorporate in this production. He also mentioned that he demanded Mako Nishimoto to learn the butoh which is a kind of dance/movement since he will also include it in the opera. So hearing Dr. Juan’s vision and knowing Leeroy’s visuals, I am already expecting Madame Butterfly to be a very visually and emotionally stimulating experience.

Also included in this production are top Filipino singers like Jonathan Velasco, Lemuel de la Cruz, John Glenn Gaerlan, Nonon Baang, Jun Jaranilla, Fame Flores, Jade Riccio and members of Viva Voce and graduates of the UP College of Music, UST Conservatory of Music and St. Scholastica’s College. John Batalla handles the light design while Pat Valera takes on video design duties.

This production of Madame Butterfly is supported by Toyota Motor Philippines, New World Manila Hotel and Smart Communications.

Ticket prices:
P3000 Orchestra Center
P2500 Orchestra Side
P1500 Balcony I Center
P1000 Balcony I Side
P500 Balcony II
-50% student discount on Balcony Section only
-20% senior citizen discount

For inquiries:
CCP Box Office 832-3704
MusicArtes, Inc 895-8098, (0917) 908-5088
TicketWorld 891-9999

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Elektro Kif by Bianca Li Company

Kyrra, Fiasco, Treaxy, Crazy, Cerizz, Big Jay

The audience at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater) got an electrifying experience with Elektro Kif, by renowned choreographer Bianca Li. The show featured eight young male dancers displaying urban street moves coupled with a killer electronic music soundtrack and then some. The dancers Khaled Abdulahi aka Cerizz, Jeremy Alberge aka Jerem, Arnaud Bacharach aka Nino, Roger Bepet aka Big Jay, William Falla aka Treaxy, Slate Hemedi aka Crazy, Alou Sibide aka Kyrra and Adrien Sissoko aka Fiasco portrayed the roles of college students as they go through a typical day studying, playing, bickering and fighting with each other. And this they told through a kind of dance called Electro that incorporated street, hiphop, vogue, pop and lock, and even some lyrical as well.

Compared to the very cerebral performance of Cartografia Disabitata that happened a week before, Elektro Kif is a change of pace as this one had a very accessible storyline and most important of all, danceable music composed by Tao Gutierrez. What made Elektro Kif very entertaining was that it incorporated dance with the usual college student life filled boring lectures, nerve wracking examinations and lunchtime at the cafeteria, all flavored with a healthy dose of mischief. The dance also gave playful activities like a game of basketball and computer games a new sense of fun. The most impressive for me however was the number that came right after the spat during the basketball game. Accompanied by music entitled Chopin Deconstructed which did sound like one of his nocturnes, two dancers who figured in the quarrel had the spotlight on them. The pair moved their arms with such fluidity and lyricism and showed some sensitivity that made the eventual reconciliation between the two more poignant. It was Electro fused with lyrical dancing and it was sublime. This duet was clearly the highlight of the evening for me and probably for a lot of people in the audience as well.

RAd and Jerem

I’ve had a very busy day and was also sleep deprived when I arrived to watch the show. But when I came out of the theater, the thumping bass beats were ringing in my head and I also had the urge to move my arms like the dancers did in the show. Due to prior commitments, I wasn’t able to participate in the scheduled interaction with the dancers that happened the day before. Fortunately, I was able to have a brief chat with some of them right after the show. Two of the dancers, Nino and Jerem told me that I really had to train hard if ever I want to be good at it since I asked them about how they were able to do some of their Electro moves. I remember something that Nino did near the end of the show when he dropped into a very low sit position while his free leg was extended in front of him. And then he wiggled the foot of his free leg a bit before rising up into a standing position. Jerem and Nino stressed that I must have strong abs and core in order to execute that move and make it look easy. Just like in playing the piano, one has to work hard, practice and train to make the difficult things look so easy.

The Elektro Kif performance which is a part of the International Dance Festival Manila: Focus on European Contemporary Dance was organized by the Embassy of France, the Alliance Française de Manille and Rustan’s in partnership with the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
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