Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Australian soprano Claire Primrose celebrates Wagner’s music in concert

November 10, 2012, 8:00 PM Performance
Philam Life Auditorium
UN AvenueManila

November 11, 2012, 2:00 PM Masterclass
Filipinas Heritage Library
Makati Avenue, Ayala Triangle

Claire Primrose, soprano
Randy Gilongo, tenor
Manila Symphony Orchestra
Alexander Vikulov, conductor

German composer Richard Wagner is celebrating the bicentennial of his birth. Because of this, his works will be staged all over the world. Unfortunately, a soprano who can meet the demands of his works is a rarity. Fortunately, Australian Claire Primrose, one of the world’s most sought after Wagnerian soprano and Australia’s finest dramatic soprano today, will be performing here this coming November 10, 2012, 8:00 PM at the Philam Life Auditorium. Performing an all-Wagner repertoire, Primrose will be accompanied by the Manila Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Russian conductor Alexander Vikulov. Joining her will be guest artist, Filipino tenor Randy Gilongo who essayed the role of Don Jose in the recently concluded production of Carmen.

Honestly, I have no idea how a Wagnerian soprano should sound like. Those who have been reading this blog know that I’m an opera newbie having only seen my first ever opera production this year. But I’ve heard that Wagner operas have a reputation for being difficult for both the performers and the listeners. And I think it’s expensive to mount a Wagner opera as well. Fortunately, the one night concert will feature excerpts from various Wagner operas like Tannhäuser, Tristan und Isolde, Die Walküre and Die Götterdämmerung which I believe is a good way to introduce people like me to his works.

Soprano Claire Primrose

Here is additional info about Claire Primrose according to the press release: a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts, Ms. Claire Primrose is a protégée of Great Dame Joan Hammond, an internationally acclaimed soprano and a pedagogue.  Ms. Primrose has won numerous awards including the ABC Vocal and Instrumental Competition, the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Scholarship Award, the Metropolitan Opera Audition to name but a few.  She also studied in London and New York with some of the world’s most renowned coaches. She has sung on many opera stages around the world with some of the world’s finest conductors.

As part of Manila Chamber Orchestra Foundation's Young Artists Development Program, Ms. Primrose will conduct a special masterclass on November 11, 2012 at the Filipinas Heritage Library at 2:00 PM. The masterclass is open to the public and free of charge.

This one night concert and masterclass of Claire Primrose is presented by the Manila Symphony Orchestra in partnership with the Australian Embassy, Manila Hotel, Qantas Airlines, BPI Foundation, BusinessWorld and Lyric Piano and Organ Corp.

Ticket prices:
P1500 Orchestra Center
P1000 Orchestra Side
P800 Loge Center
P600 Loge Side

For inquiries:
MCO Foundation 750-0768, (0920) 954-0053.
Ticketworld 891-9999

Monday, October 29, 2012

40 pianos take centerstage at Forte@40 Concert

November 18, 2012, 3:00 & 7:00 PM
Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater)
CCP Complex
Pasay, Metro Manila

I’ve seen 10 grand pianos onstage whenever I get to see the annual Sampung Mga Daliri concert presented by the UST Conservatory of Music. One might think that having 10 grand pianos onstage is already an undertaking of great magnitude. But the Piano Teachers’ Guild of the Philippines (PTGP), Cultural Center of the Philippines, Lyric Piano and Organ Corp. and Kawai take it several notches higher as they present 40 pianos on stage for Forte@40 happening this November 18, 2012, 3:00 & 7:00 PM at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater).

This special concert is in line with the PTGP's 40th anniversary celebration, hence the 40 pianos on stage. The number 40 also figures prominently in the concert as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G minor, KV. 550 (arranged for 40 pianos) and Frédéric Chopin’s Polonaise in A major, Op. 40 No. 1 Military (arranged for 40 pianos) are some of the pieces included in the programme. These and the other pieces lined up for the concert represent five genres of music namely Baroque, Classical, 20th Century, Pop and Filipino music. Conducted by Herminigildo Ranera and Daniel Bartolome, this historic concert will feature over 300 pianists ages 8 to 80 comprising of students, teachers/members, past and present PTGP board members, festival participants and competition winners on 40 pianos (10 Shigeru Kawai grand and 30 upright pianos).

Forte@40 Participants

The mix of grand and upright pianos will be an interesting aural experience as the sound projection from each type of pianos will be different. This proved to be exciting for one of the arrangers whose works are featured in the concert, composer Kabaitan Bautista. Not only does he have 40 pianos in his sandbox, but he also gets to play around with which piano and pianist will play a certain part. This also enables him to decide from which part of the stage the music will come from. The result is comparable to having a surround sound speaker system just like in the cinema. Kabaitan arranged two pieces for this concert: the Harry Potter Fantasy and Super Mario Capriccio Based on a Theme by Koji Kondo and Contagion on a Theme by Nirvana. He mentioned that what’s interesting in the Harry Potter/Super Mario piece is that the players will range from little kids to college students while the Nirvana piece will feature pianists whom one will never expect to play Nirvana like UP Madrigal Singers choirmaster Mark Anthony Carpio and UST Singers conductor Fidel Calalang.

One of the main highlights of the concert will be the world premiere of Mga Gintong Pamana by Augusto “Agot” Espino, commissioned by the Piano Teachers' Guild of the Philippines which will showcase 40 pianos with 80 players: two per piano playing the parts. This easily eclipses Sampung Mga Daliri’s maximum of 20 pianists onstage. The piece pays homage to renowned Filipino composers like Nicanor Abelardo, Dr. Francisco Santiago, Francisco Buencamino, Sr., Dr. Antonio Molina, Rosendo Santos, Jr., Lucio San Pedro, Felipe De Leon, Sr., Ramon Tapales, Dr. Lucrecia Kasilag, and Rodolfo Cornejo. All of them are the who’s who in the field of Philippine music and piano literature.

Other notable performers in this concert are CCP President Dr. Raul Sunico, concert pianists Della Besa and Annie De Guzman, Fr. Manuel Maramba, OSB, Carmen Padilla, Nita Abrograr-Quinto, Najib Ismail, Mary Anne Espina, and many more.

Pianist Lorenzo Medel

The over-all production team of  Forte@40 is led by Dennis Marasigan (Artistic Director and Lighting Director), Eric Cruz (Set Designer), Antonio Africa (Video Documentary), Ave Asuncion Uy (Stage Manager), Toots O. Tolentino (PR & Publicity) and Mari Yuda (Marketing). Forte@40 is also supported by media partners Business World, Herword.com, Chinoy TV and The Manila Bulletin.

Ticket prices:
P2000 Orchestra Center
P1500 Orchestra Side
P800 Balcony I Center
P500 Balcony I Side
P350 Balcony II

For inquiries:
PTGP askptgp@yahoo.com
Ticketworld 891-9999

A new act unfolds at the 4th National Theater Festival at the Cultural Center of the Philippines

Participants of the 4th National Theater Festival

November 8-18, 2012
Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater)
Tanghalang Huseng Batute (CCP Studio Theater)
CCP Silangan Hall
CCP Main Ramp
CCP Complex
Pasay, Metro Manila

The Phantom fever has subsided and now it’s time for local theater artists, companies and productions to take over the Cultural Center of the Philippines once again as the 4th National Theater Festival (NTF) takes place this November 8-18, 2012. This festival’s edition, dubbed as Ika-Apat na Tagpo, Ang Bagong Yugto: The New Act, will feature performances, a conference, exhibits, and film screenings offered by theater companies based in Metro Manila along with others from various parts of the Philippines.

While this is just the fourth edition, the first National Theater Festival actually occurred 20 years ago back in 2012. For this year, the various theater companies participating in the festival are Barasoain Kalinangan Foundation Inc. from the province of Bulacan, Bohol Antequera and Maribojoc Cultural Collectives in cooperation with Teatro Bol-Anon from the province of Bohol, cultural activist Carlos Celdran, Dulaang UP of the University of the Philippines, Gantimpala Theater Foundation, Integrated Performing Arts Guild of Mindanano State University-Iligan Institute of Technology, Mindanao State University Kabpapagariya Ensemble from General Santos City, Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA), Sipat Lawin Ensemble, Tanghalang Ateneo of Ateneo de Manila University, Tanghalang Pilipino, The Xavier Stage of Cagayan de Oro and Trumpets Inc. There will also be special performances by Kanlaon Theater Guild of Colegio San Agustin-Bacolod, SPIT (Silly People's Improv Theater) and ventriloquists Ony Carcamo and Wanlu.

According to the press release, one of the highlights of this festival will be the 4th NTF Conference from November 8-10, 2012 at the CCP Silangan Hall. Theater scholars, academicians and practitioners will present papers on relevant contemporary issues and concerns related to Philippine theater. This historic gathering will also provide the theater community with opportunities to formulate strategies that can be pursued in order for Philippine theater to create an impact, locally and globally and to forge fellowship and build stronger networks. The 4th NTF Conference is being presented with the assistance of the Artists Welfare Project Inc. (AWPI).

Film screenings will showcase plays that were made into films and films that started out as plays. These include National Artist for Film Lino Brocka’s Insiang (written by Mario O'Hara for film and for stage) and Bona (adapted by Layeta Bucoy for stage); National Artist for Film Lamberto Avellana’s Portrait of the Artist as Filipino (a Nick Joaquin play); Dennis Marasigan’s North Diversion Road (a Tony Perez play), Anatomiya ng Korupsyon (a Malou Jacob play) and Joel Lamangan's ZsaZsa Zaturnnah Ze Moveeh (a Chris Martinez / Vincent de Jesus musical theater adaptation of the graphic novel by Carlo Vergara).

The 4th National Theater Festival Ika-Apat na Tagpo, Ang Bagong Yugto: The New Act is organized by the Cultural Center of the Philippines in cooperation with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

JK Anicoche (Sipat Lawin Ensemble), Maribel Legarda (PETA),
Gabe Mercado (SPIT), Nanding Josef (Tanghalang Pilipino), Carlos Celdran,
Ricardo Abad (Tanghalang Ateneo) and Audie Gemora (Trumpets)

Here is the schedule of performances for the 4th National Theater Festival:

Performances at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater)

by Tanghalang Pilipino
November 7, 2012, 8:00 PM
November 8, 2012, 3:00 PM
November 8, 2012, 8:00 PM (Invitational)

Duha Ka Alimpo sa Habagat… Bohol 1700 (Two Eyes of the Monsoon Storm)
by Bohol Antequera and Maribojoc Cultural Collectives in cooperation with Teatro Bol-Anon
November 9, 2012, 8:00 PM
November 10, 2012, 3:00 PM

Sintang Dalisay
by Tanghalang Ateneo
November 11, 2012, 3:00 & 8:00 PM

Kakarong (Musical)
by Barasoain Kalinangan Foundation Inc.
November 13, 2012, 8:00 PM
November 14, 2012, 3:00 PM

by Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA)
November 15, 2012, 3:00 & 8:00 PM

Mind’s Eye
by Trumpets
November 16, 2012, 3:00 & 8:00 PM

Orosman at Zafira
by Dulaang UP
November 17, 2012, 8:00 PM
November 18, 2012, 3:00 PM

Performances at the Tanghalang Huseng Batute (CCP Studio Theater)

Dula Ta (Let’s Play)
by MSU Kabpapagariya Ensemble
November 9, 2012, 2:00 & 7:00 PM

by Integrated Performing Arts Guild
November 10, 2012, 2:00 & 7:00 PM

The Return of the Comeback of the New and Improved Newly Scented Haring +Ubu-l
by Sipat Lawin Ensemble
November 11, 2012, 7:00 PM

Walang Kukurap
by Tanghalang Pilipino
November 13, 2012, 2:00 & 7:00 PM

Isa Pang Kawing
by The Xavier Stage
November 15, 2012, 2:00 & 7:00 PM

Sayaw ng mga Seniorita
by Gantimpala Theater Foundation
November 16, 2012, 2:00 & 7:00 PM

Bata Batute
by Ony Carcamo and Wanlu
November 17, 2012, 3:00 & 7:30 PM

Performances at the CCP Silangan Hall

Livin’ La Vida Imelda
by Carlos Celdran
November 11, 2012, 7:00 PM
November 13, 2012, 7:00 PM
November 15, 2012, 7:00 PM

D4: The Next Generation
by SPIT (Silly People's Improv Theater)
November 16, 2012, 7:00 PM

Performances at the CCP Main Ramp

by Kanlaon Theater Guild
November 9, 2012, 7:00 PM

Battalia Zero a.k.a. Battalia Royal ever. Zero
by Sipat Lawin Ensemble
November 14, 2012, 7:00 PM

Gabe Mercado (SPIT), Ricardo Abad (Tanghalang Ateneo)
and JK Anicoche (Sipat Lawin Ensemble)

There are a few productions getting re-staged that I’ve already seen. They are Stageshow, Orosman at Zafira, The Return of the Comeback of the New andImproved Newly Scented Haring +Ubu-l (newly scented this time around) and Walang Kukurap. While it will be great if I can see them once again, it would be a lot better if other people can catch up with these productions after hearing about them when their respective runs were over. Aside from the Metro Manila based theater companies, it is also interesting to see what the other companies from the provinces have to offer. Besides, this event is not called the National Theater Festival for nothing.

Ticket prices:
Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino performances: P800
Tanghalang Huseng Batute performances: P500
CCP Silangan Hall performances: P800
CCP Main Ramp performances: FREE
-50% student discount
-20% senior citizen, PWD’s, government employees & military personnel discount
+3% service charge on Ticketworld outlets/online purchases

For inquiries:
NTF Secretariat 832-2314

Saturday, October 27, 2012

PPO II: The Mysterious Mountain

Double Bassist Kurt Muroki

Kurt Muroki, double bass
Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra
Olivier Ochanine, conductor

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings in C major, Op. 48
Giovanni Bottesini Double Bass Concerto No. 2 in B minor
Sergei Prokofiev Lieutenant Kijé Suite
Alan Hovhaness Mysterious Mountain (Symphony No. 2), Op. 132

The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra finally took over the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater) after getting displaced by the seven week run of the Phantom of the Opera. Led by principal conductor and music director Olivier Ochanine along with guest soloist, double bassist Kurt Muroki, the PPO presented The Mysterious Mountain, their second concert for their Milestones season celebrating the orchestra’s 40th year and 30th concert season.

This concert started with a very familiar piece, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C major, Op. 48. I heard the PPO strings section rehearse this last January when they were preparing for the vin d'honneur. They eventually scrapped this from their repertoire for the event but I still told Olivier that this should be played at one of their season concerts. And then it finally happened. But this Serenade was delivered in an unusual manner for me. The performance I heard that night didn’t go to the extremes like having the introduction (and its subsequent reappearance towards the end) more robust, and making the fast passages more light and nimble. Things somehow stayed in the middle. I guess that this stemmed from listening to the recording by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Herbert von Karajan multiple times that a different interpretation startled me a bit. But the performance of the Élégie was sublime driving the audience to applaud right after the movement. After this was the performance of Giovanni Bottesini’s Double Bass Concerto No. 2 in B minor featuring double bassist Kurt Muroki. This was probably the highlight of the evening for many in the audience. Rarely do people see a double bassist on the spotlight and Kurt Muroki delivered a memorable performance. This concerto felt like it was actually a sung piece or an aria from an opera made possible by the clarity of how Muroki played his solo parts. Many times, it felt like he was playing a big cello that had additional strings for the lower notes. And for his encore, he did play a piece for the cello which was the Gigue from Johann Sebastian Bach Suite No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007.

Kurt Muroki and conductor Olivier Ochanine

The second half of the concert started with the Lieutenant Kijé Suite by Sergei Prokofiev. I was very pleased that I didn’t have to wait that late into the season before I get to hear this piece that I suggested that the PPO play. It still fascinates me to think that this work is an early movie soundtrack by a notable composer who also wrote symphonies, concertos, and music for the opera and ballet. The PPO was able to showcase Prokofiev’s brilliance in telling stories and I  reckon that even if most of the people in the audience weren’t aware of the actual story of Lieutenant Kijé, they were able to get some of it. But I believe that viewing the actual film really helps since in it was the actual score in which this suite was based. Right off the bat, the Lieutenant Kijé theme by a solo cornet was played from a distance, off stage probably indicating that there was actually no such real person in the first place. After that came the fleshing out of the character through the fictitious romance, wedding and the delightful sleigh ride that followed it. And when the solo cornet theme was played for the last time, capping the whole suite with his death, it made me feel bad that Lieutenant Kijé did not really exist in the first place. For the last piece of the evening which was Alan Hovhaness’ Mysterious Mountain (Symphony No. 2), Op. 132, the PPO did something different. They played this piece with the stage lights dimmed as photos of various mountains were projected on stage. I usually don’t like gimmicks in orchestral performances but thank goodness that this one was not too over the top that it became a distraction. While the Prokofiev piece told a story, this one evoked feelings of majesty, mysticism and even spirituality. The opening 10/4 of the symphony really intrigued me at first and lured me to listen further. The double fugue later on felt like the opposing winds high up in the mountain. I initially looked forward hearing this piece back in 2011 when everyone else was celebrating Hovhaness 100th birth anniversary. Well, the PPO may be a year too late in honoring him but good music doesn’t need to be timed with anniversaries in order to be played.

The Masterclass

I’ve said before that I always like having the masterclass before the concert itself. I prefer knowing the guest artists first for it gives me a greater appreciation of their performance. And a masterclass is a great way of knowing their styles, personalities and even some of their quirks that I eventually notice during their actual performances.

Kurt Muroki conducted a masterclass days before the concert and observing it had a big impact on me. For one, I’ve decided earlier on not to listen to the Bottesini concerto before the concert since it was the only one in the programme that I haven’t heard of before. And I want to have that element of surprise of hearing the piece for the very first time during a live performance. But someone had that Bottesini piece for the masterclass and that left me with no choice but to listen to it. I eventually got so tempted that I listened to a recording of the whole piece once I got home. So there goes the element of surprise for me.

Seriously, even though I don’t play the double bass I still learned a lot from the masterclass. One of the things he shared that I can apply to the piano is practicing not just the technique but also the performance. He explained that one must shut the brain, listen to the music and just play. After that comes the analysis of what works and what doesn’t. And then one repeats the process until he ends up with something that works in a performance. Because of this, the performance becomes freer and not too cerebral. As for someone like me who is obsessed with technique, this was a huge lesson for me as I am currently preparing for a somewhat public performance (which I am actually dreading). What this is all about, I can’t tell yet. But when it happens, Kurt Muroki will be someone that I have to thank for providing much needed help.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Trick or treat: This is not a Chicosci album launch

October 31, 2012, 7:00 PM
Eastwood Central Plaza
Quezon City

Chicosci’s new album’s title This is Not a Chicosci Record may sound like the band is playing a trick on you. But it’s definitely going to be a treat from the band this Halloween as they launch their sixth studio album on October 31, 2012, 7:00 PM at the Eastwood Central Plaza.

It’s been three years since the band’s last studio album Fly Black Hearts. And for the past year, they’ve been working, writing and recording new material with producer Eric Perlas of Tower of Doom Studios. As for the album’s unusual title, Chicosci says that they “want their listeners to be devoid of any preconceived notions of who the band is or how they should sound like.”

The band’s vocalist Miggy Chavez further adds that “It’s shouldn’t be important who the artist is. We hope people like the album because it’s good music and not because it’s Chicosci. And if people don’t like the record, we hope it’s because they actually listened to it and hated the music or (not like it) because it’s OPM.” This is Not a Chicosci Record features 14 tracks including the first single Stealing Kisses, the feel-good Raspberry: Girl and the rock ballad Sleep Station.

This is Not a Chicosci Record, released by MCA Music Inc., is already available for purchase via iTunes and MyMusicStore Philippines. The physical CD’s will be launched during an album launch event at Eastwood Central Plaza on October 31, 2012 at 7:00 PM. An album purchase at the venue will be bundled by an exclusive baller ID. A Chicosci T-Shirt Bundle will also be available comprised of a copy of This is Not a Chicosci Record, a t-shirt and a baller ID. The baller ID’s and t-shirts will only be available during the launch and not elsewhere. So for Chicosci’s fans out there, there’s no better way to spend Halloween than at the Eastwood Central Plaza celebrating the release of This is Not a Chicosci Record.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Laurice Guillen debuts as opera director in Carmen

October 26-28, 2012, 8:00 PM
St. Cecilia’s Hall, St. Scholastica’s College

Ana Feleo, soprano
Camille Lopez-Molina, soprano
Abdul Candao, tenor
Randy Gilongo, tenor
Noel Azcona, baritone
Christopher Arceo, baritone
Manila Symphony Orchestra
Arturo Molina, conductor

First it was a scaled down version of Così fan Tutte, then came La Traviata, Madame Butterfly, and The Barber of Seville (which I unfortunately missed). The year 2012 has been a banner year for opera productions here in Manila. And to cap such a year, the Lyric Opera of the Philippines, Manila Downtown YMCA and the Manila Symphony Orchestra present Carmen, the world’s most popular opera happening this October 26-28 at the St. Cecilia’s Hall at St. Scholastica’s College in Manila.

The well loved music of Georges Bizet will be brought to life by exceptional Filipino opera singers like sopranos Ana Feleo and Camille Lopez-Molina (Carmen); tenors Abdul Candao and Randy Gilongo (Don Jose); and baritones Noel Azcona and Christopher Arceo (Escamillo). They will be accompanied by the Manila Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Prof. Arturo Molina and directed by first time opera director, Laurice Guillen.

This opera features some of the most well known pieces of music like the March of the Toreadors, Habanera and my personal favorite, the Entr'acte with the exquisite flute solo. Many people may not be familiar with the opera, but I think that they will be very surprised to hear familiar pieces of music that they've heard elsewhere. So it will be very nice to see and hear the actual source material of this pieces of music.

The Gala Night of Carmen happening on October 27 will have Ana Feleo as Carmen, Randy Gilongo as Don Jose and Noel Azcona as Escamillo. The October 26 & 28 performances will feature Camille Lopez-Molina as Carmen, Abdul Candao as Don Jose and Noel Azcona as Escamillo.

This production of Carmen is for the benefit of Kaisa Para sa Kaunlaran Inc, Wycliffe Philippines and Across Ministries. Carmen is sponsored by the Alliance Française de Manille, Rothman Hotel, Goldland Properties and Development, Orocan, Western Guaranty Corporation, G2 Global Inc Hotels and Resorts, Juan Bautista Lee, Nieves Securities Inc., Angping Securities Inc., SeaOil, ChinoyTV, Tulay Chinese-Filipino Digest, Fil-Chi TV and in by ChinaBank, Burlington, San Miguel Beer and the Chinese Filipino Business Club.

Ticket prices:
October 27 (Gala Night)

October 26 & 28

For inquiries:
Alliance Française de Manille 895-7585, 895-7441.
Manila Downtown YMCA 242-1995, 242-1977
Ticketworld  891-9999

Friday, October 19, 2012

French juggler and accordionist duo perform at PETA

October 25, 2012, 8:00 PM
PETA Theater Center
No. 5 Meynard Drive, New Manila
Quezon City, Philippines

The Embassy of France, the Alliance Française de Manille and Rustan’s, in partnership with the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA), present DUO, a performance by French juggler Jérôme Thomas and French accordionist Jean-François Baëz, on October 25, 8pm at the PETA Theater Center.

Two virtuosos come together for a one-of-a-kind performance filled with tenderness and humor, poetry and freedom. Jérôme Thomas is one of the pioneers of Modern Circus in France. For the past several years, he has been sharing the stage with his accomplice musician, Jean-François Baëz, both in France and abroad. An accordion and various juggling tools accompany the artists respectively as they delight audiences with an hour-long hymn of playful freedom, creation and interaction. Masters of improvisation and bestowed with indisputable precision, they make up this “juggled concert” to present a completely unique spectacle. This DUO brings together mime, clown and dance for a truly delightful production sure to amaze audiences of all ages.

DUO is on tour in Southeast Asia in October 2012. Filipino audiences have a chance to see them onstage in Manila on October 25 and in Cebu on October 26. DUO is part of FrancoPhil 2012, the French-Philippine cultural season in the Philippines. Know more about FrancoPhil via the Embassy of France's website and facebook page.

Ticket price:
-30% student discount
-10% senior citizen and AFM member discount

For inquiries:
Sabrina Durand 895-7585, 895-7441, (0917) 892-8968, sabrina@alliance.ph
PETA 725-6244, petatheater@gmail.com

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Callalily's Flower Power Album Launch

Eugene Domingo (center) with Callalily (from L-R) Lem Belaro,
Kean Cipriano, Aaron Ricafrente and Tatsi Jamnaque

Pop/rock band Callalily hoped that a successful album launch would set the tone for their newest album Flower Power, their fourth overall and their first under new label Universal Records. Band members Kean Cipriano (vocals and guitar), Tatsi Jamnague (guitar), Aaron Ricafrente (bass) and Lem Belaro (drums) had their expectations exceeded as Callalistas composed of children (some still in their school uniforms), lots of college girls, yuppies and even a few senior citizens trooped over to the Eastwood Central Plaza for the band’s album launch.

Everyone who purchased a copy of the album that night also got a poster and a guitar pick. And at that time, the album wasn’t yet available in retail outlets so those who got their physical copies there were among the first to have them. But probably the most important of all, those who bought the album were able to watch the band’s live performance at the area reserved for them. And after what basically was a mini-concert, these lucky people were able to have their CD’s and posters signed by the band. Throughout the performance area, there was a very generous supply of GSM Blue drinks for everyone. Thankfully, it seemed that everyone drank responsibly that night.

Before the show started, some bloggers and I were able to meet the band at their dressing room. And to our surprise, one very special fan came in and gave the band her support. That fan was no other than Ms. Eugene Domingo who co-starred with Kean at the film Ang Babae sa Septic Tank. It’s no surprise that she’s returning the favor since Kean also was in full support of Eugene when she starred in the Bona more than a month before. And during the band’s performance, Eugene quietly watched on the side largely unnoticed and ignored by the crowd since they all had eyes on the stage.

The performance started later than usual but the fans didn’t mind the delay at all judging by the screams that greeted the band as they went out on stage. Callalily played a bunch of songs taken from all of their albums, Flower Power included. Some of the older songs performed were Pasan, Susundan and Magbalik. Their cover of the Eraserheads song Minsan was also performed as well. What I found most remarkable was how the audience reacted when the new material like Buhay, Sabik na Sabik, Buhos ng Ulan, Pansamantala, and HKM where performed The album hasn’t been out on record stores yet but the die hard Callalistas responded to the new songs as if they were already part of Callalily’s greatest hits. I would’ve understand if they reacted that way towards Pasasalamat since the song has been released at MyMusicStore Philippines for about a month now and it’s been getting substantial airplay. But for them to respond so positively regarding the new and previously unheard material only means that Callalily truly has a very dedicated fanbase.

After the performance, it was time for the CD signing and the fans lined up orderly with most of the younger women applying some make up in preparation for the photo ops with the band. I took the chance to ask some of them a few questions regarding their dedication to the band. I was amazed to know that a lot of them have been fans since day one. One even made the journey from outside Metro Manila to be at the launch and she was leaving it up to fate her journey back home. A lot of the fans gave letters, gifts and of course, lots of flowers for the band. Lem reciprocated by also giving something else to the fans who stayed behind: he gave away packs of LALA, the chocolate/candy that his family owns that brings out the child in everyone.

Kean Cipriano

After the launch, I was able to put the CD Flower Power for a few spins and I surprised myself for recognizing instantly most of the songs even if I’ve only heard them once or twice before. Listening to the studio versions of Pasasalamat, Sabik na Sabik and Buhay also brought me back to the listening session when the band performed those songs but with a more stripped down arrangement with Lem using only the HandSonic 10. I am still regularly putting the album for some spins and so far, it’s the acoustic Pansamantala that is always get stuck in my head recently.

Callalily will also be touring several malls to promote their newest album Flower Power. Catch the band at these dates:

October 21, 2012, 5:00 PM Robinsons Nova Market
November 2, 2012, 5:00 PM Robinsons Place Lipa
November 3, 2012, 5:00 PM Robinsons Sta. Rosa
November 4, 2012, 5:00 PM Robinsons Metro East
November 11, 2012, 5:00 PM Robinsons Place Dasmariñas

Flower Power

1. Pasasalamat
2. Sabik na Sabik
3. HKM
4. Lapit
5. Buhay
6. Pansamantala
7. You and I
8. Buhos ng Ulan
9. Walang Sumipot
10. Para Sa’Yo
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