Fiesta Filipina

Traditional Music from the Philippines

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An album of relatively traditional works from the Philippines coming from the Fiesta Filipina troupe of Toronto (of all places). Essentially, the instrumentation on almost all of the tracks is the "rondalla," a collection of stringed instruments -- the banduria (a small mandolin), guitars, and bass. While not completely traditional (this is Spanish-influenced music), it is rather nice, and is traditional in a sense. There are folk songs present, which always add an air of authenticity. The nice part of the album is the inclusion of the kulintang and its related ensemble. It only appears on a few tracks, but it is still a welcome surprise. The kulintang is a set of tuned gongs set on a frame -- something of a Filipino adaptation of the gamelan, perhaps; but where the music of the gamelan is seemingly based in ambient sound environments, the music of the kulintang is backed by pounding drums and higher-tempo work on the gongs, along with occasional call-and-response shouts, etc. Despite notable absences from the musical traditions (musikong bumbong, for example), an enjoyable album for introduction into the music of the Philippines.

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