Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tugtog at Indayog

Hoping to finally flush the Baroque contamination out of my system, I came back to the Abelardo Hall Auditorium at the UP Campus in Diliman for the final show of the Sounds of August series which was entitled Tugtog at Indayog: A Night of Jazz and Afro-Latin Music.

There's a whole bunch of musicians playing at this performance which comprises the Tugtog (Play) part of the title. The Indayog (Dance) portion was delivered by the UP Dance Company whom I've had the chance of seeing performing contemporary dances a few times already. I am already grasping the concept of contemporary dance and one thing that I like about dance performances is if there's live music accompanying it.

One thing that I didn't like was the trip going to the UP Campus since the weather was horrible once again and what was supposed to be a 20 minute trip ended up in a over an hour. So this show had a major task to eliminate the bad vibes I was feeling upon my arrival at the campus. Remarkably, this was the most attended event of the Sounds of August series and if I heard it right, some students were required to watch this.

The first number of the night was called Binalig sa EDSA by Ria Villena-Osorio. I've never heard this music before but it was clear that this was the jazz portion of the show. I felt that the trumpet was not yet in his zone at this time. Maybe he had a hard time coming to the venue as well and didn't have enough time to warm up. And as expected, several members of the UP Dance Company were there to provide the dancing. The next was the Toote Suite and if memory serves me right, a different group of dancers performed here and they had a more classical line as opposed to the contemporary leanings of the previous group. To end the first jazzy half, the musicians performed Caravan by Duke Ellington. I know a jazz standard entitled Caravan but I don't think that this was the one that was played.

The second half of the programme was when the Afro-Latin music made itself heard. First performed was Astor Piazolla's Bordel: 1900 and History of Tango: Nightclub 1960. Another set of dancers were on hand for this number and they had quite a different take on the tango. I really like tango music and I found this unusual interpretation of the dance very interesting.

Then came the Latin Jazz: Philadelphia Mambo by Sara Tavares. I'm not sure if this was the one where the musicians each had their moment. If this was the case, then this was the time when I lamented my absolute lack of piano improv skills. After this, a couple of vocalists joined the performers as they did WOrld Fusion: Bom Feeling by The Buena Vista Social Club. I felt that the vocals were a bit weak and quite unsure. Well, if they were singing in Portuguese which I think was the case, then I understand since I find the language difficult as well.

The last bunch of numbers performed were Danzon-Mambo, If Dreams Could Dance by Steve Erqulaga and Comparsa: Conga Carnival by Miguel "Anga" Diaz. By this time, I felt that no one was really taking this show that seriously. Sure mistakes were made by the dancers yet it was obvious that they were having fun and it somehow added to the appeal of the whole show.

Overall, the show was really all about having fun but I felt that some had too much fun. The overwhelming majority of the audience was made up of people from the UP College of Music and they were too comfortable that it made someone like me felt a bit out of place. I guess that this means that I am really getting old.


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