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Haiyan and Holidays

26 Nov Holiday Bazaar at I-Hotel San Francisco Nov 30
Holiday Bazaar at I-Hotel San Francisco Nov 30

Holiday Bazaar at I-Hotel San Francisco Nov 30

Since the typhoon, the community has mobilized to help the people of the Philippines in any way possible.  There has been kulintang electronic dance music in a few events already, but here are two more fundraisers that will feature kulintang music:

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

“Holiday Bazaar” at International Hotel Manilatown (San Francisco, CA)

Join us for a Holiday Bazaar & Fundraiser at the historic International Hotel Manilatown in downtown San Francisco. We’ll have local vendors for unique gifts. Featured live performances by local artists featuring Ron Quesada on the Kulintang and a community “Kapwa jam” at 6PM.

$5 suggested donation to the NAFCON Bayanihan Relief campaign help victims of Philippine Calamities No one will be turned away for lack of funds. 

Featured vendors: Ray Haguisan, Kristian Kabuay, Sala Imports, Florante Aguilar (Harana the Movie), Titania Buchholdt, Bayani Art, Calia, Almost 11, Malyari 

Performers: Kulintronica with dancers, Eskabo Daan, Dane Hipolito, Shelia Alix

Also featuring a fashion show of cultural inspired everyday looks featuring local designers, vintage and katutubo made items. 

Interested in being a vendor? Email

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

“Parol Lantern Workshop/Fundraiser” at Hallidie Plaza near Powell BART Station (San Francisco, CA)

parol makers

Take a break from holiday shopping and make a Parol lantern! Featuring live music and artists. Get custom Philippine script on your parol from Kristian Kabuay. Make an on-site to aid the Philippine relief effort and get your presents wrapped at our gift-wrap center.

Hosted by: Allan Manalo

Ukulenny & Dane Hipolito – ukulele & vocals
CryWolffs - electroviolin
Kulintronica - kulintang and electronica

Kristian Kabuay – Baybayin (native Filipino calligraphy)
Paolo Salazar - chalk art

December 8 fundraiser at StubHub Center Stadium Club

December 8 fundraiser at StubHub Center Stadium Club

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

“Operation Typhoon Haiyan” at the Stub Hub Center’s Stadium Club (Carson, CA)

Featuring Kulintronica and Kayamanan Ng Lahi

The Los Angeles Booz Allen Hamilton office is supporting a charity Benefit Show open to the public that will help the Typhoon calamity victims in the Philippines. The firm is providing financial support and employees are volunteering to help make this event happen. This is a local way for employees to come alongside our Los Angeles Filipino community as they mount recovery support for their families and friends. 

100% of proceeds will benefit ABS-CBN Foundation International’s (AFI) Rehabilitation Program. AFI is a 501(c)3 non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to improving the lives of disadvantaged Filipino families in the Philippines and around the world. It is the public service arm of ABS-CBN / TFC Broadcasting Corporation, one of Asia’s biggest media conglomerates. 



Filipino American History Month is Here!

8 Oct by Karen Pennrich
by Karen Pennrich

Asian Art Museum kulintangan photo by Karen Pennrich

October is here!  If you missed the takeover of Asian Art Museum by Center for Babaylan Studies and Jay Loyola’s American Center for Philippine Arts on the first Sunday, here are a few more events where you can see Ron perform new kulintang music:

  • Saturday October 12th, 2013 at 1pm: Seafood City in Milpitas, CA live electronic dance music kulintangan (1535 Landess Ave  Milpitas, CA 95035)
  • Saturday October 12th, 2013 at 6pm: Yerba Buena Nights at Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco, CA presented by Kularts where I will share the stage with Parangal Dance Company fresh from their sold-out performance of “Handuraw” which had wicked kulintang playing from Hiyas Dance Company of San Jose. (750 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94103)
  • Sunday October 13th, 2013 at 6:30pm: Raq Filipina performance featuring Ron Quesada of Kulintronica performing New Filipino World Music from her album “Filipina Roots” at Pa’ina Lounge in San Francisco Japantown Raq Filipina breathes new life into Filipino classics like “Dandansoy” and offers new original Filipino tunes played by some of San Francisco’s finest musicians from its eclectic Latin music scene! (1865 Post St. San Francisco, CA)
Raq Filipina

Raq Filipina features Kulintronica at Pa’ina Lounge 10/13 6:30pm

Here comes Filipino American History Month!

24 Sep

Greetings, kulintang fans!

It’s that time of the year, the month of October at the end of the summer season when the Filipino artist community gears up for a final push before settling into the holidays.  October is Filipino-American History Month!  To kick things off, we have an early start with a special screening of “Rescue in the Philippines: Refuge from the Holocaust” at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum.

The Philippines is rich with history, with multiple layers and story arcs intertwining the contested archipelago.  I consider myself a Philippine history buff but I was surprised to learn about this chapter.  Although much has been said of the Philippines role in the battle for the Pacific, but the topic of Philippines involvement in the European conflict is hardly discussed.

Pictured above is President of the Philippines Manuel Quezon with the Frieder brothers taken in April of 1940.  I am excited to learn this intriguing story, and to provide intermissions with smooth grooves and live kulintang playing.


Kulintronica performs at “Rescue in the Philippines” screening

Asian Art Museum, San Francisco

Screenings at 6:15pm and 7:30pm

Happy FIlipino American History Month!

Image 18 Sep 9/20 at BambuTwo, Honolulu Chinatown
9/20 at BambuTwo, Honolulu Chinatown

Kulintronica Live Electronic Dance Music Kulintangan at BambuTwo, Honolulu, HI


Friday September 20, 2013 at BambuTwo Cafe Martini Lounge in Honolulu, Hawaii

“Calling My Name” CD Release Party

Fresh from the 2nd Annual Bachatahisian Festival in Aiea, Kulintronica comes to Honolulu Chinatown to bring kulintang music to the nightlife.

8pm – close; 21+

BambuTwo Cafe Martini Lounge

1144 Bethel St, Honolulu, HI 96813


Kulintronica = Kulintang + Electronica, so what about Bachatahisian?

11 Sep 963782_10201088953839706_885322201_o

Kulintronica = Kulintang + Electronica, so what about Bachatahisian?

September 15 Live Electronic Dance Music Kulintangan at Camp Smith, Honolulu, Hawaii as part of the Bachatahisian Festival and Concert.

Bachata + Tahitian = Bachatahisian an amazing and bombastic collision of two incredible dances brought together with aloha on the gathering island of Oahu.

Debuting the CD release of the “Calling My Name” single.  Full length album coming soon…

Full festival lineup:

Bachatahisian 2013 lineup

Bachatahisian 2013 lineup


Kulintang galore at 22nd annual FPAC in San Pedro, CA

10 Sep Dropping Kulintronica into the traditional Kulintang music performance

Kulintang galore at 22nd annual FPAC in San Pedro, CA

Dropping Kulintronica into the traditional Kulintang music performance

Dropping Kulintronica into the traditional Kulintang music performance

For this year’s Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture (FPAC) I travelled incognito as a member of my teacher Danongan Kalanduyan’s performance ensemble.  Dressed in a red gold green black traditional attire with a colorful Sama headwrap I joined my kulintang brothers from Northern California and San Diego to bring a heavy dose of kulintang to a festival that always makes room to feature kulintang music; FPAC!  For more pictures and videos, see the @kulintronica twitter/instagram/vine feeds!

Traditional attire for the performance

Traditional attire for the performance

First task was to gather first thing in the morning all of the kulintang players gathered for this performance.  We had experienced performing kulintang musicians from Northern California and San Diego.

Rehearsal for breakfast

Rehearsal for breakfast

After the performance on the Legacy Stage we moved to the Dance stage for interactive workshops where we were ecstatic to be joined by a number of kulintang players attending the festival.  We jammed, danced, and had reunions.

Maestro Marlo getting down on Tagunggo

Maestro Marlo getting down on Tagunggo

Learning kulintang

Learning kulintang

Learning Agong

Inkanor (left) on Agong

Mars on gandingan

Mars on gandingan

Titania cross-handing

Titania cross-handing

Chris "Filipino Brand" Feraro on kulintang

Chris “Filipino Brand” Feraro on kulintang

Check out Chris’ apparel and goodies at Filipino Brand.

Local dance force Kayamanan ng Lahi also had live kulintang playing as part of their performance Saturday morning.  The Center for Babaylan Studies also kept a kulintang handy at their pavilion tent.  The kulintang is a great tool for bringing people together, which is great to draw attention in a festival rich with activities.

Babaylan Pavilion kulintang

Babaylan Pavilion kulintang


Live Electronic Dance Music Kulintangan at Union Square San Francisco 9/4 12pm

4 Sep

Live Electronic Dance Music Kulintangan at Union Square San Francisco 9/4 12pm

Kulintang music in the San Francisco sunshine

September Kulintang Sessions

13 Dec

September kulintangan up and down California.

Filipino Performing Arts & Culture (FPAC20) in San Pedro, California

FPAC Kulintronica by J Bashiri

FPAC Kulintronica by J Bashiri

Filipino Fest at Six Flags

Kulintang and Eskrima Filipino Fest Six Flags Vallejo

Kulintang and Eskrima Filipino Fest Six Flags Vallejo by M Williams

Nieto Art Gallery

Kulintang August Nights

31 Aug Pistahan 2011
Kulintang in Concord, CA

Kulintang in Concord, CA

Time Out Bar & Grill, Concord, CA

After such a great result at last month’s Nightlife, I was eager to bring the kulintang to even more new places.  The Time Out Bar & Grill in Concord is just such a place.  The last time I brought kulintang to a Concord dive bar, an audience member very loudly exclaimed, “Let’s turn on the juke box!” in the middle of an exciting Binalig that I was playing.  Granted, my beats were not as big as they are lately, so I kept an open mind for this new audience.  I sure am glad I did, because the audience was really open to it, so open to it that they were jumping up and down with their drinks in the air!  Lots of great conversations followed, and a few Concord-ites outed themselves to me as Filipinos; and no, they had never seen kulintang before that moment.  Mission accomplished.

Pistahan 2011

Pistahan 2011 (photo by Brian Snowden)

Pistahan at Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco, CA

It’s that time of year!  Pistahan reclaims its title as one of the largest Filipino festivals in the Bay Area!  The parade had never been so large.  I would post pictures of the parade but I was a little busy playing kulintang music accompanied by big-calibre performers such as Lendl San Jose, Kristine Sinajon, and Melissa Martinez.  With Melissa, an experienced kulintang music and dance performer, as the informal dance instructor, we had an impromptu community dance that saw indigenous Filipino dance movements coming from excited Filipinos and non-Filipinos who came to claim their seats early.  There was definitely some magic in the air.

Nick’s Lounge in Berkeley, CA

Kulintang Happy Hour in Berkeley

Kulintang Happy Hour in Berkeley (photo by Esperanza Catubig)

Here is a picture where I am once again joined by Filipino-musician-extraordinaire Lendl San Jose.  This particular dive bar is Nick’s Lounge in Berkeley, where a group of Filipino film enthusiasts gathered at the invitation from actress Esperanza Catubig in support of her new independent film (where Catubig also get’s a Producer’s credit) called Nico’s Sampaguita.  The film, about a Filipino-American family set against the jazz music backdrop set in the Fillmore district of San Francisco.  There is a lot of excitement around this project; so much that an unexpected guest arrived: fellow kulintang player Judith Ferrer!  She did not expect to see a kulintang at the event, and I certainly did not expect another kulintang player to come in and drop two beautiful kulintang songs from memory.  Ang galing!

Judith is a fellow local kulintang player

Judith is a fellow local kulintang player

Summer Kulintang Stories

31 Jul Mix & Match kulintang sets
Mix & Match kulintang sets

Mix & Match kulintang sets

Searching for Instruments

Here is a picture of a mix & match kulintang set from one of the largest collections of Filipino instruments in the Bay Area.  Notice the different stages of oxidation the gongs have.

I took this picture while visiting the collector (who is also a very good kulintang player) so that I could borrow a set of gandingan for an upcoming July performance.

The design of the kulintang is the best clue as to who manufactured the gong.  Artisans tend to stick to a favorite design.  This kulintang set is of the no-nonsense style; no ornamental carvings or visible weldings, just a large set of gongs with a thick casting of metal alloys to give it that serious “I am a musical instrument” look.

The Dabakan is the Drum in the Kulintang Ensemble

Pictured here are two dabakan likely made by the same artist.  The drum is fashioned into a goblet shape from a single piece of hardwood, preferably the base of the tree right above the root ball.  Traditionally a bayawak (Filipino monitor lizard) hide would form the drum skin, but goat drum heads are the common material nowadays.  The okkir (Southern Filipino design motif) is intricate and flashy, leading the educated collector to assume that the drums are Maranao in origin.

Matching Dabakans

Matching Dabakans

One of these two drums was the main touring dabakan for the Palabuniyan Kulintang Ensemble, the group directed by my kulintang teacher, Master Artist Danongan Kalanduyan, and it has been the instrument by which kulintang music was brought to places such as Juneau, Honolulu, Seattle, San Diego, Albuquerque, Houston, Washington D.C., Richmond (VA), Boston, New York, and even Toronto, and Acapulco.  After many years of touring, this drum was finally retired from the PKE instrument list because of an accumulation of wear and tear from the road.

SF Pinoy Jazz Fest at Birdland in Berkeley

The gandingan (talking gongs) that I mentioned in the first picture that I needed to borrow was so that I could sit in with John Calloway at the SF Pinoy Jazz Fest.  I sat in with John Calloway during his appearance at the 2010 Jazz Fest that was held at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts right in the middle of that year’s Pistahan.  I appeared on the song he wrote for John Santos, “Itim,” meaning “black,” a song about being Afro-Filipino.  This was my crash course for mixing kulintang with jazz music.

For this year’s performance, we were set to perform at this local venue that had quite a buzz around it.  The Birdland Jazzista Social Club is located across the street from North Berkeley BART, inside of a garage converted into a legitimate jazz venue complete with stage, seating, mood lighting, and a community of music lovers.  The venue had already appeared in FastCompany and Forbes, and the ambitious three-day lineup that SF Pinoy Jazz had lined up for a weekend in July was to be its biggest event to date; a virtual roll-call of Filipino musicians in the Bay Area jazz community.

I was so excited to bring my new gongs that would give me the flexibility required to sit in with serious jazz musicians.  I had prepared an accompanying part for Calloway’s original tune “Diaspora.”  When you listen to Diaspora, you can hear the influence of kulintang music on the main melody.  The arc and movement of the main melody is really of the character of kulintang playing, with a few bars of latin jazz at the turnaround incorporated for a truly dynamic chart meant for live performance.

Unfortunately, none of it was to be.

Promptly, right at the three-day festivals kickoff downbeat, at 6:00pm exact, the event was cancelled after a visit by Berkeley Police Department.  All of the music prepared by the many musicians including myself, was not allowed to be played.  As this issue plays out in the realm of Berkeley politics, music at Birdland is indefinitely suspended, but it seems to me that the owner is intent on re-opening this young venue, so I will update this story as it develops.

Lineup for the Filipino Jazz Fest of 2011

Lineup for the Filipino Jazz Fest of 2011


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