Here in the San Francisco Bay Area it is not uncommon to see cross-cultural collaborations. Mixed-race mash-ups sprout from the community like wildflowers in Spring. If you were in downtown Oakland in January 2011 you would have witnessed one such collision: kulintang electronica with Filipino vegan food at No Worries’ event, “Eat Now, Laugh Later.”
Diners were treated to a delicious and healthy Filipino dinner while listening to the sounds of traditional kulintang playing layered over live guitar loops and electronic dance beats before laughing uncontrollably to a heaping serving of comedy delivered by Filipino comedic talent such as Andrea Almario, Herb Diggs, and Kevin Camia.
Also, this month I performed with Diwa Kulintang Circle at a very exciting booklaunch for authors Virgil Apostol and Lane Wilcken for their respective books, “Way of the Ancient Healer: Sacred Teachings from the Philippine Ancestral Traditions,” and “Filipino Tattoos: From Ancient to Modern.”
For a kulintang enthusiast like myself, the only appropriate reaction to encountering kulintang paraphernalia during the course of day-to-day living is to photograph them where they are. Here’s a beautiful vintage set matched with a few orphan gongs for a truly unique playing experience. This set lives in West Contra Costa County.
Another encounter took place the same day in another part of the Bay Area, in Berkeley. These gongs keep the house warm, living in the retired fireplace of a sunny Berkeley home.
No Bay Area site-seeing excursion is complete without witnessing some Filipino culture and a walk on the beach to contemplate the elastic distance that separates San Francisco from Manila.