Tag Archives: Berkeley

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


Filipino radio takeover for “Pilipino Ourstory” on Listener Supported Radio

24 Oct
Kulintronica setup in the KPFA live room in Berkeley, CA

Watching the clock waiting to perform live

After setting up the kulintang electronica live rig in the historic KPFA studios in Berkeley, I watch the clock while sampling the hospitality and enjoying the community vibe as Filipinos took over the Northern California airwaves under the leadership of Lapu Lapu (aka DJ Kayumanggi).

This studio was also where some tracks from Master K’s third CD, “The Oral Tradition of Maguindano” was recorded.  For kulintang recording collectors, these few tracks are extra special because they are hi-fi recordings of two of the Kalanduyan brothers, Danongan and Datuan playing complex kulintang pieces on the kulintang a kayu (wooden kulintang) in unison.

Kulintang and Agung in the KPFA studio

Pinay Mujer and Alexis Canillo on agung right before the show

I was joined in the studio by Palabuniyan members Pinay Mujer and Alexis Canillo, also onsite for their contributions to the radio program.  We had four live mics to capture the gongs and the electronic elements were piped directly to the radio waves while in the studio we monitored using a small bass combo.

The cue was given and we started off with some traditional kulintang, a Binalig.  After Lapu Lapu’s introduction accompanied by yet another Binalig, we played a brisk Tagunggo, which became the point of musical departure into the imagination.

As we entered the world of kulintang electronica, I took the opportunity to make a live dedication to Tim Lincecum whom I dubbed “Fil-Am of the month,” and then proceeded to mix live kulintang and agung playing with guitar looping and dance music.

It was truly a pleasure to make music in this historic venue, in the company of so many fellow Fil-Am artists, broadcasting Filipino America to Northern California on the airwaves.

A rare vinyl copy of "Magkabilaan" by Joey Ayala at ang Bagong Lumad

A rare vinyl copy of "Magkabilaan" by Joey Ayala at ang Bagong Lumad