Category: Concerts

Euro-Pinoy Jazz Concerts: Fusion of Music, Mind, and Culture

“I met my colleagues here [in the Philippines] and I told them how exciting it is to do this musical experiment,” Dr. Petra Raymund, director of Goethe-Institut Philippines said.

She was talking about a similar project she did back in 2012 at the Jazz Fest Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where jazz guitarist Nguyen Le of France and jazz singer Michael Schiefel of Germany performed with two Bosnian jazz artists, Edvin Hadžić on doublebass, and Dr. Amar Češljar on drums. And since the German and French players know the jazz scene both in Europe and globally, they suggested to collaborate with Italian double bassist Furio di Castri, Spanish percussionist Tino di Geraldo, and Filipino saxophonist Tots Tolentino, who they handpicked for this event.

Thus, the Euro-Pinoy Jazz Concerts came to be.

Five jazz masters are coming together for a week of music-making. Not only do they collaborate as musicians, but also as composers, as they are set to create new and original music. The culmination of which will be presented in a two-night concert on February 21 at the Arts in the City, Bonifacio Global City, and on February 22 at the historic Maestranza Plaza in Intramuros.

Concert is FREE! BUT you must RSVP! Click the photo or copy this address to your browser for more details:
Concert is FREE! BUT you must RSVP! Click the photo or copy this address to your browser for more details:

How will they do it? They have been communicating the past months online, and will gather together for a four-day collaborative workshop starting February 17, Monday, as they work toward a fresh repertoire for the concerts. Sounds interesting, especially that the five musicians are masters of their own instruments who will bring in a fusion of music, creative minds, and culture. Take, for instance, Nguyen Le, who will meld together traditional Vietnamese and Western music and, Tino di Geraldo, one of Spain’s leading percussionists, who will bring together classical, jazz, and flamenco styles.

The Euro-Pinoy Jazz Concerts is presented by the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) Philippines together with the European Union Delegation to the Philippines, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Intramuros Administration, and Arts in the City.

EUNIC Philippines is composed of the Alliance Française de Manille, the Goethe-Institut Philippinen, the Instituto Cervantes, the Philippine Italian Association. The event is their first collaborative project.

Julian Vasallo, Political Counsellor of the European Delegation, said that they aim to attract lovers of this kind of music, and that they look forward to expanding this event in the future. He invites us to witness this “Jazz blind date” with these outstanding musicians.

Members of EUNIC Philippines with Adelina Suemith of NCCA.
Members of EUNIC Philippines with Adelina Suemith of NCCA.

(Admission to the Euro-Pinoy Jazz Concerts is FREE but RSVP is required. For inquiries, call Sabrina Durand, Alliance Française Cultural Coordinator at (02) 895-7585, or visit the Euro-Pinoy Jazz Concerts Facebook page.)

Date Night: Cantus Puero and Ginza Bairin

My husband and I enjoy watching concerts. In the past months, we’d rather spend date nights watching concerts than hitting the movie house. We often get to watch classical concerts, especially those featuring our friends.

So when I found out about a concert featuring Madz Choirmaster and our ninong Mark Carpio singing as countertenor, I knew we had to watch. It is very rare for him to be performing as singer of late, that’s why never miss opportunities like this!

The concert, entitled Cantus Puero or Song for the Child, is part of the UP College of Music’s Faculty Concert Series which features the college’s faculty teaching by performing. It was held at the Abelardo Hall Auditorium last January 16. This concert was their post-Christmas offering, thus the theme was about the Christ-Child.

Performers include sopranos Sherla Najera (a music education faculty), Stef Quintin (a senior voice student), countertenor Mark Carpio (Madz Choirmaster, faculty of conducting, and a dear ninong and friend), tenor Ervin Lumauag (a voice graduate; also a Madz alumnus and a good friend), accompanist Augusto “Agot” Espino (another ninong and my former piano teacher), and oboist Franz Ramirez (a young oboe player and principal oboist of the ABSCBN Philharmonic Orchestra. Crystal Rodis on flute supported the cast for one Bach piece, which she performed competently.

The concert started with a new composition by Alejandro Consolacion, a good friend and former schoolmate, who is now studying in the US. Mary’s Lullaby is a work for oboe and piano, which was played with much passion by Franz and the able accompaniment of Sir Agot.

Solos, duets, trios, quartets were then performed one after the other. There were some songs that I really stood out for me–Ervin’s wonderful interpretation of the Bach piece–Frohe Hirten, Ervin and Mark’s lovely duet– Sound the Trumpet by Purcell, and Stef and Mark’s simple duet–Maria Wiegenlied by Reger.

During the second part, Mark asked the audience to sing along two Christmas Carols with them. What’s funny is that the audience went tacet or silent after the first verses–not knowing what the second verses of both songs were!


Among the audience were Madz members and Kilyawan Boys Choir members and their parents, a good concert to watch to discover and learn about their voices more. If this were not a weeknight and near Pasay, I’d encourage my own kids to watch.

Congratulations to all who are involved in this concert, especially the performers!

Dinner time next! I wanted to check out UP Town Center, the newly developed Ayala Mall establishment along Katipunan.

As I recently watched on Kris TV (yeah, favorite show of moms like me, don’t judge!), I knew there was an iHop among other restos. After taking one round to check out what’s in store for us, we settled at Ginza Bairin, a Katsu house.

This is what I got: Mixed Set A of Rosu katsu, white fish, and tempura:


Hubby is transitioning to vegan, but here he has a salmon dish to feast on:


I had a strong bias for Yabu since the first and only time I tried it. I knew nothing would top their katsu. And I was right. The prawn  I had at Ginza Bairin was yummier!

Then it’s time to pick pasalubongs for my daughter and her caregivers for the night–my mom and sister–as thank you to them. We asked them to choose between Vanilla Cupcake Bakery and J.Co, but they chose the earlier.


My daughter liked cream cheese so much that it was the first thing she ate during the morning snack the day after. I got a Red Velvet Cupcake for my mom and Banana Nutella Cupcake for my sister. They preferred the Banana Nutella more.

UP is proving to be quite far from Pasay lately. This being said by Pasay residents who used to study in UP/Ateneo and commuting everyday. Nevertheless, it was a fun date night after all!

How do you spend date nights? Share your stories in the Comments section.

~ Touringkitty

Mommy Marimbist in CCP debut concert


Aimee Mina-Dela Cruz is one of the foremost percussionists and marimbists in the country today. Finally, she will be given a chance to step up the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino for a full repertoire in her debut concert on November 12, 7:30 PM.

Though she had previously performed in well-received short segments for the Pasinaya in the past years, her upcoming performance on November 12 will underscore her versatility and virtuosity, truly deserving to be featured in the CCP’s Special Concert Series.

Program: Sarasate’s Carmen, Bach’s Concerto in D minor for Two violins BWV1043 (Vivace), Levitas’ Concerto for Percussion, Cruz’ Sana’y Maghintay ang Walang Hanggan, and Ewazen’s Concerto for Marimba.

Her assisting pianist is Fe Marsha V. Nicolas. Guest artists are young marimbist Mikaela Natasha Janelle Ley, percussionists Leodivino Roque and Gomer Giron, and violist Joy Allan De la Cruz, her husband and father to their cute little boy named Gioia.

Aside from the concert, she will give a percussion workshop for symphonic band and orchestra percussionists on Friday, November 15, 2012 from 9:00 AM to 12 noon and from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM at the CCP Main Theater Lobby.

For ticket inquiries, please call the CCP Box Office at 832-3704 or TIcketworld at 891-9999. For inquiries and reservations for the workshop, please call the CCP Artist Training Division at 832-1125 loc. 1604/1605 or email.

*The concert of award-winning trumpeter Raymond De Leon for the Special Concert Series has been moved to January 29, 2014 at the CCP Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino at 7:30 PM. The trumpet workshop and masterclass will be held on January 30 & 31, 2014 at the Silangan Hall, Cultural Center of the Philippines.

I got “Swinglified!”

Who didn’t, after watching that fabulous concert featuring two fabulous choirs who both celebrate 50 fabulous years this 2013?

The Madz first “teased” us with this poster:

I first thought it was some black, er, yellow, prop of sort. Teehee.

And soon after, we found out what it really meant:

Two for the Gold. Two Legends, Two Nights. Got it?:)

I could not miss this concert! What’s not to miss: The Madz. The Swingles. Pure vocal awesomeness. I really got “Swinglified” last Saturday night!

It was also a date night for me and my husband. I convinced him to get orchestra seats, and I am so glad we did! So after dinner at the Harbour Square, we went to the Cultural Center of the Philippines Main Theater to claim our pre-ordered tickets. I was so happy to see so many people in the lobby before the show started!

The program started with the Madz singing several songs for the first part, a combination of the old and new Madz repertoire. They began with “Cantate Domino” by Josu Elberdin. I have heard this a couple of times already and I like how the Madz sung this–simple yet grand. “La Guerre” was sung in another version–Old French pronunciation, I suppose. Their “Italian Salad,” through the years of being in the Madz repertoire, never fails to make the audience laugh. Their set ended with “Circle of Life,” another crowd favorite, remains foolproof.

Before their final song, Sir Mark had a short spiel which introduced the Swingle Singers. The Madz then went down the stage and sat on the first row of the audience. I thought there will be an intermission announcement, but instead, Sir Mark told the audience to wait in our seats as the stage was being prepared for the featured performers.

And so, it was the turn of the Swingles, who sang a few songs before an intermission was announced.  I swear it was the first time I ever smiled throughout a concert! *Fanmode on*

The Swingle Singers is an eight-member a cappella group formed by Ward Swingle in 1963. Back then, their repertoire consisted of orchestral music set into choral arrangements. Through the years, they have expanded their repertoire, which included pop music, original compositions, and made use of technology by using recorded percussion and adding effects on their microphones. Since they were only a few singers (currently, they are seven), they use microphones to amplify their sound, especially in large auditoriums. Their sound engineer rocks, by the way, and did an amazing job as well!

After the intermission, they were joined by the Madz for two musical numbers — “Eleanor Rigby” and “Lady Madonna.” The Madz girls were sparkling in their gold blouses while the men wore all black. Again, they went back to the audience as the Swingles sang the rest of their program.

I like how they interspersed spiels and choreography with their songs. Everyone got a chance to speak, and each song had its own story to tell. Never a dull moment. Crowd favorites would be the “Il dolce suono/Fifth Element” medley, and “Single Ladies” complete with booty-shaking of their male singers!

Besides their newer songs, they also sung their older repertoire. Loved “Claire de Lune,” of course. They ended with another classic by Astor Piazolla–“Libertango.” I also wished they sang other Swingle favorites, like Flight of the Bumblebee and their Bach arrangements. They should come back, then! It was a treat hearing them live.

Of course, it did not end there. Encore numbers were sung, and as their final offering, they sung the Ilonggo lullaby, “Ili-Ili, tulog anay,” which I found out was done by one of the Madz’ resident composer/arranger, Ily Maniano. The lullaby got Swinglified, to everyone’s amazement.

It was indeed a magical night, and I could not help but tell my friends how happy I was. I will definitely remember that concert for a long time!

Thanks, Madz, for working really hard to bring in the Swingles to Manila, for playing host to them while they were here, and for allowing us to experience what you guys had experienced in Colombia during the America Cantat.

This fan is gonna end this post with a video of the Madz singing a Swingles piece. I used to just listen to them through Sir Mark’s iPod, then on Youtube. I am happy that I have sung one of their songs, like this one: Soul Bossa Nova, which we performed in New York in 2007. Have a Swinglin’ time, y’all!
~ Touringkitty

Voices and Vision

Korea and the Philippines share the same passion for music, especially choral music.

Witness two of the best children’s choirs in one concert. Consortium of Voices (conducted by my Ninong Mark Carpio of the Madz) and World Vision Korea Children’s Choir (conducted by Hee-Churl Kim). This week, both choirs are participating in a children’s choir festival in Seoul organized by World Vision Korea.

Nope, you don’t have to pay for a Korean visa and plane ticket to see them. As the Filipino group comes home next week, the Korean group will also be visiting the Philippines to return the favor for this one night back-to-back concert!


Contact directly Paolo Ignacio at 09151277666 for ticket inquiries.

Madz @ 50: Madz Alumni

The Madz is one huge family of about 200 (or more). We maybe classmates, students, teachers, mentors, siblings, children, parents, cousins, of each other. The family is extended to our own families, wherein some are each other’s wedding or baptism godparents and godchildren.

We look up to our alumni, the ones who passed to us the great Madz tradition. We keep this, live this, and pass to our successors, who we in turn, expect to do the same to the future singers.

I was privileged to have met so many Madz Alumni, both here and abroad, and get to know them a little better. It pays that I was a UP student as well, because most Madz alumni were UP professors too. And during trips abroad, we are happy to see fellow Madz in the audience. We listen to their stories, experiences, and we learned from them a lot.

When I left the Madz, I also got the chance to sing with an established alumni group, Koro Madrigal. With them, we had concerts, workshops, and local travels.

Beyond rehearsals and concerts, we remained in touch. Our best way to bond: EATING!

But there is one Madz batch that we are raving about. Incidentally, they will reunite this weekend for two concerts every Madz fan should not miss.


Madz 89, as they are popularly called, is called such because they won top prizes in all international choral competitions they joined in 1989. They make such a great group because most of them have been singing together for about eight years. They planned this since last year and this week, they are already rehearsing, most are coming home from US and Europe. Perfect timing because of summer break.

Please do watch this concert. Two nights only. Go to the Madz Facebook Page to get tickets. They’re selling like pancakes so get them now! My husband and I will be there on Sunday, so see you then!

Touring tales: Pasinaya 2013


Before, I was part of Pasinaya as a singer of one of the Center’s Resident Companies, the Philippine Madrigal Singers. For the past two years, I was behind the scenes as stage manager. It was tough work, coordinating with 13 different groups through email, phone calls, and endless text messages to put up the Little Theater shows.

So please catch this one-day multi-arts festival tomorrow, February 3. We’re celebrating Chinese Filipino culture, in time for the year of the Snake. Check out details here

See you at the CCP!

~ Touringkitty

Ordinary Teenagers in an Extraordinary Concert

When I was young, I dreamed of becoming a concert pianist. I knew I was being prepared for it — performing for school programs and recitals.

Now that I am nurturing a very musically inclined daughter, who never sleeps at night unless she completes her “album” of songs to sing for us, her tired parents, I will make sure she gets her dream of becoming whoever she wants to be. And what mother would not want for her child to perform in the biggest stages in the country, even the world?

Jeline, Gabby, and Jimmy, young musicians, all in their teens, have just received a very wonderful yet daunting task — fill up the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo of the Cultural Center of the Philippines for a one night performance with no less than the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra.

Such heavy task on their shoulders, but they are ready.

They were winners of the 2011 National Music Competition for Young Artists, or what is popularly known as NAMCYA. It’s like the “Palarong Pambansa” of musicians. One of their “prizes” is performing with a full orchestral accompaniment. And it will happen on August 2, 2012, 8:00PM at the CCP Main Theater.

It will be only one night, so please come and support these great talents.

Tickets to the concert are at P900, P700, P500 and P200 with 50% discount for students and 20% discount for senior citizens. For inquiries, please contact the CCP Box Office at 832-3704 and Ticketworld at 891-9999.

To know more about the artists, please click this link.

~ Touringkitty

P.S. As you all know, I never became a concert pianist, but a choral singer, travelling and singing in big stages here and abroad I never even dreamed of as a child.

Bente lang po!

Please click the link!

Dinagyang sa Pasinaya 2012!

One Sunday, multiple venues, thousands of artists representing most parts of the country, one big event.


Bilang NATIONAL ARTS MONTH ngayong Pebrero, heto na siguro ang isang araw na mararanasan mo lahat ng ka-ARTe-han.

Kumpletos recados ang Pasinaya na taunang ginaganap sa Sentrong Pangkultura ng Pilipinas. May kantahan, sayawan, tugtugan, workshops, storytelling, teatro, kainan, lahat na ng maisip nyong ka-arte-han!

At mas espesyal ang araw na ito dahil dadalhin ang Dinagyang sa Maynila!

Busugin ang inyong right brain sa halagang bente! Kapresyo ng nilalakong abubot ni manong sa malaking karitela, kapresyo ng isang cone ng ice cream! Sa dami ng mapapanood mo, masisiyahan tiyak ang iyong five senses.

Kaya imbitahan ang iyong nanay, tatay, ate, kuya, pinsan, iba pang kamag-anak, kaklase, kapitbahay, kaibigan, ka-facebook, lahat na! Pwede lahat ng edad tapos Linggo pa yan kaya tamang-tama!

Pano pumunta sa CCP: Mag-MRT at bumaba sa EDSA, tapos mag-LRT at bumaba sa Vito Cruz. May Orange Jeep na tatawid papuntang Roxas Blvd. Pwede mag-FX papuntang Vito Cruz-Roxas Blvd.

Dali lang puntahan, di ba? Kung nakapag-Star City ka nung Pasko, e di alam mo nang puntahan ang CCP!

Tandaan: Magsisimula ito ng ika-8 ng umaga hanggang gabi na ito! Mamili ka sa napakaraming shows at activities sa buong araw. Sa halagang BENTE!

Kung ayaw mo naman pumila sa pagpasok sa venues, bilhin mo na ang FAST PASS BALLER ID (o di ba, parang Disneyland lang!) sa halagang P200! Sulit na sulit yan!

Agahan ang punta nang makarami! Bawal lang kumain sa loob ng venues, ha? Sa outdoor venues pwede siguro. Pumalakpak pag TAPOS na ang piyesa, huwag sa kalagitnaan, para marinig mo naman ang ganda ng buong kanta.

Ayan, manood ha? Nang magkaroon ng konting ka-ARTe-han ang buhay niyo. Nawa’y maramdaman niyo kung gaano kaswerte maging Pilipino.


~ Touringkitty

Ma-ART-e ka ba?


And do you know that it’s National Arts Month this February?

Arts hub/my workplace from Tuesday to Friday. Fitness hub during weekends.

So, let me invite you to some of our activities this whole Arts Month:

Wednes-Date with Orlina: Filipiniana Sunsets

Filipiniana Sunsets started late last year, and has gained viewership through the people who pass by the CCP Ramp for an evening jog. Sad, but this wonderful one-hour showcase of everything Filipino — from dance to music — should gain more viewership!

I really suggest those schools who are planning to do their educational trips to watch this FREE show. Yes, you’ve read it right, it’s FREE! Show starts at 6PM.

With Mamma Mia now playing at the Main Theater, Filipiniana Sunsets is now at the Liwasang Aseana across the Tanghalang Pambansa, set on a backdrop of a beautiful sculpture of Ramon Orlina. Oh, what a lovely way to end a midweek evening!

PASINAYA 2012: The CCP Open House

This is an annual activity of the CCP where you could use your five senses in experiencing art. See, hear, touch, smell, and taste art in all possible venues at the CCP!

For a small donation of twenty pesos, this one-day treat is so worth it. You can even volunteer to help facilitating the shows and workshops, as there will be so many groups performing.

This year’s highlight is the Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo, and it’s the first time CCP is doing a regional theme.

Bring your whole family, invite your friends, classmates, and workmates, even strangers to experience art. And maybe, just maybe, we can all inject a little ka-arte-han to everyone.

There are lots more and I shall update you soon.

So, shall I see you here?

~ Touringkitty