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Saturday, November 27, 2004

I've never been a fan of world music or reggae or anything of the sort. I think it's all a nosiy mish-mash, an endless cacophony that makes no sense whatsoever. My view if world music is the same as jazz which doesn't have any recognizable rhythm at all. It has nothing I could grasp and certainly nothing to enjoy. That's why I wasn't exactly thrilled when Joanne, a friend from college, invited me to watch a free concert titled Putomaya World Music at the nearby mall. I even tried to beg off from watching something I know wasn't going to be worth my while. I tried to beg off many times but she was insistent that I go, promising that I would enjoy the show. I grudgingly said yes and I would follow later.

I arrived some thirty minutes or so into the concert and there was a sizable crowd watching the concert, a third of them were standing around at the back. Given the Filipinos' penchant for being uzis (bystanders, innocent or otherwise) I guess there shouldn't be any cause for me to be surprised at all. Joanne and Karl (another friend and classmate from college) saw me immediately and ushered me to a good seat near the middle. I didn't catch the name of the band currently playing, which was just as well since their set of music exactly represented what it is that I don't like about world music. Next band to perfom was Wahijuara. Their three-piece set of music was really nice and I somewhat changed my stance on world music when I heard them play. It's unfortunate that I didn't get the titles but there's this one composition, which they said was inspired by the white beaches of Boracay that really got to me. It has a smooth jazzy feel to it, something like out of those 60s lounge music kinda thing. I wanted to get a hold of these artists' compilation album as soon as they finished their set. Next up was Makiling Ensemble. I've been hearing of these guys a lot in the past, people swear by the beauty of their music but I never paid them any heed and deliberately avoided their mall concerts. Still I've left all my expectations down so as not to be disappointed, but then when the first strains of "Spanish Dancer" started I began to regret those times past that I deliberately stayed away from them and that it was only now I was only able to discover them. It was all true! TRUE, I TELLS YA! Wow! Here are some of the pictures I took earlier tonight:


First band whose name I forgot


Wahijuara performing their brand of Latin Samba


Makiling Ensemble performing "Spanish Dancer"


Diwa de Leon deftly plucking the strings of the hegalong


Tropical Depression


'RnB' artist, JR. Kilat


Papa Dom


Singing for the cause of Filipino music


Pepe Smith making a surprise appearance


Finishing the set with a bang


Souvenir shot with the frontman of Tropical Depression

The last band to perform was the reggae band, Tropical Depression. The mall was alreafy closing and the audience has dwindled down to a few die-hard fans. I'm not a fan of reggae music but seeing the famous band live on stage made it okay. Dread heads came into the scene occupying vacated seats up front while the band was setting up, I don't normally seem them elsewhere and it makes me wonder where they go during ordinary days. Self-styled RnB artist ("Rapper na Bisaya" as he calls himself) Jr. Kilat sang the first two songs, the second being an original composition about his cellphone having a low-battery function or something like that. T.D. frontman, Papa Dom, then stepped up to the mike and sang a couple of original classics (from a decade ago or so) and while they seemed to winding the song, "Ang Himig Natin" ("Our Song") down, local rock music icon, Joey 'Pepe' Smith came out from behind and sang with the band. His appearance was so unexpected and his presence so electrifying that everyone in the place started howling and clapping in appreciation. The set ended with a bang and me and my friends had our pictures taken with Papa Dom afterwards. Joey Smith was talking with some friends so we never got a souvenir shot with him. Okay, I'm now willing to make a couple of exceptions to world music because of the wonderful talents that we have. But I'll be initially drawing the line at Pinoy.

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