Tag Archives: Pistahan

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


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!

Kulintang + Electronica at Pistahan!

11 Aug

In the Bay Area this weekend? Head over to Pistahan, one of the nation’s biggest Filipino American cultural celebrations in San Francisco. Grab a bite of crispy turon, some pancit, and come watch Kulintronica rock out at the Pistahan Stage starting at 11.

Here’s a peek at what Pistahan is about:

Pistahan Stage
Enjoy world-class performances on two stages, showcasing Filipino and Filipino American performing artists from Manila, Hollywood, Broadway, San Francisco Bay Area and around the country. The Pistahan presents a wide variety of entertainment for the entire family, including folk dance, modern dance, hip-hop, R&B, rap, jazz, Broadway, spoken word, and more!