A kulintang player of many hats

1 Sep

Greetings, kulintang fans, and welcome to the Kulintronica blog. Today’s entry will recap my gong-related activities in August 2010 which brought me from San Francisco to San Diego.

Kulintang, Agung, and Dabakan in Rock City, Mt. Diablo, CA

Kulintang at Rock City, Mt. Diablo, CA

A highlight of this month was my own birthday celebration; a gathering of gongs, bamboo, singsong, talkstory, and delicious Filipino pasteles at beautiful Rock City in the cradle of Mt. Diablo. Rock City, like Mt. Diablo and its surrounding foothills, was created by the crumpling and stirring of bedrock later exposed by erosion, resulting in the phenomenon that you are traveling backwards in time (encountering older and older rock) as you ascend the mountain. We set up my newly acquired fourth kulintang set on a natural stage of rock formation and hung a grand total of four agungs from the trees. We were also blessed to be visited by a tribe of bamboo instruments from Kalinga via Alaska and Richmond, CA.

Palabuniyan Kulintang Ensemble performed at the SF Public Library as part of the Singgalot series. This library branch across from SF City Hall and adjacent to the Asian Art Museum houses an impressive collection of Filipino and Fil-Am publications housed in a dedicated reading room.

Explaining what a kulintang is while Jason Mateo looks on

Kulintronica at Pistahan 2nd Show

Pistahan festival and parade was a great free event for the community held at Yerba Buena Gardens. I opened the festival from the main stage with a Kulintronica set complete with live looped guitars, kulintang playing and dancing lolas on the grass. Riding a wave of positive energy I glided over to the youth stage for an encore performance. I was so grateful to get two sets of applause that day. The sun came out too by the time I loaded my gongs back into the gong-mobile for the drive East through bridge and tunnel.

Playing agung and dabak with Pakaraguian members

Palabuniyan and Pakaraguian at PDGW 2010

Finally, I attended the Philippine Dance Gathering Workshop in San Diego. It was a reunion of friends and colleagues from the folk dance community, and a chance for all of us to sharpen our discipline, inform the discussion, and invigorate our passion for cultural performance. Amongst the legions of new talent on stage, it was the first time since blowing out the candle on my babayin double tsokolate cupcake (thanks, Shuganomics!) to really feel my age.

Thanks for accompanying me on this trail through time!

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