beetle

Creative MIDI Sequencing Tips and “Sitsiritsit Alibangbang”

The track was born during the 2005 recording sessions for my EP “Kodomo”, I asked vocalist Yu:Mi Calderon to sing any old Filipino folk song that she knew by heart. She sang the first verse of “Sitsiritsit Alibangbang” into the microphone, acapella — with no backing track, no fixed tempo and no designated key. I figured, I may someday use it. I wasn’t quite sure what I would do with it though.

Flag of Philippines

Toward a Truly Philippine Music

Do Filipinos have a unique musical sound? My answer is yes. But it isn’t being practised much by people outside of the local world music genre (Grace Nono, Joey Ayala, Bayang Barrios, Pinikpikan, etc.) Right now it exists though it’s more a vague fog than a typhoon of output.

I’m talking about folksong-inspired music — music which uses our local folk songs as inspiration. Not remakes of ethnic chants or remixes of kundimans, but rather traditional folksongs as building blocks for new music regardless of the genre of the final output (be it pop, classical, electronic, or death metal.) National artist and composer Lucio San Pedro called it Creative Nationalism.

Grace Nono and Bob Aves Group 2005

Japan Odyssey: Gigging with Grace Nono at the World Expo 2005

From April 5 to 9, 2005, I was in Nagoya, Japan, as keyboardist, laptop musician and backup singer for the Grace Nono and Bob Aves group. We performed for one hour at the Expo Dome, a 3,000-seater auditorium located within the 300-hectare World Expo 2005 Nagakute site, which just days before us, featured Alanis Morisette. And we rocked the house with a set featuring songs which mixed traditional Philippine tribal music with Western-flavored and electronic arrangements. Traditional + experimental = spiritual world music in ancient languages.