Thursday, 18 April 2013

Pinikpikan Kalayo in Paris

Photo Source: Hampash Loofah/Archive of Kalayo/Pinipikan

With Sammy Asuncion, the lead guitarist and one of the founders of the band

Audience dancing to the beat of gangsa/gongs and drums
I've heard of the band for the first time when I was translating some interview materials with Filipino Ethno Rock bands for a radio documentation for the WDR. I found the name of the band so unique and learned that it has something to do with chicken, a rare preparation of chicken for cooking.
When a German friend sent me an invitation to attend to the first day of the Philippine Exhibition at the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris, I found out that the exhibition would present Filipino musicians and experts on Philippine culture on the days following the opening of Philippine Pre-colonial art.
Kalayo/Pinikpikan graced the opening of the exhibition, The Philippines, a Archipelage of Exchange featuring the art of Pre-Colonial Philippines from the highlands of Northern Luzon to the island of Mindanao. The exhibition at Musee du Quai Branly runs from April 9 to July 14, 2013.
It was on a sunny Sunday when I met a dear FB friend personally at Montmartre and I told her that I would be interested in coming to the concert of Kalayo/Pinikpikan that evening at Galerie Talmart. I was positively surprised to see the Galerie being only a stone's throw away from the Centre Pompidou with its famous fountain from Niki de Saint Phalle. Two birds in one stone.

For more info on the group, please see the site: 
 "Pinikpikan - It all started during the first Baguio Arts Festival. Participating artists from Manila had joined up with members of the Baguio Arts Guild at a dinner at Cafe by the Ruins after the festival's opening. As they sat around the Cafe's Dap-ay (a circular rock and stone installation found in tribal villages in the northern Cordillera where elders hold their council and rituals) someone picked up a couple of pieces of pinewood meant for the fire raging at the center. Another picked up some bamboo segments. Rum and beer bottles were used. So were covers of pots and pans. Rocks were pounded. Sticks flailed. A rhythm was born. Very Igorot in its influence. Then the rock band The Blank joined with lead and bass guitars. A keyboard was set up. A couple of guys brought out their saxophone and flutes. Grace Nono wailed and the Bisaya and Ilonggo connected it with their melodies. The Wandering Chink called it Rock n' Runo (a reed found in the highlands similar to bamboo). Manong Bencab called them the Pinikpikan, after a Mountain Province chicken dish which is prepared with an Igorot beat.

The Pinikpikan Band was never ever "officially" formed, yet it exists. From a Baguio cafe's Dap-ay to a living room on Protacio in Pasay, from the beaches of Puerto Galera to the mountains of Sagada, the music has incessantly rocked and rolled. Different places, different groupings, but always the percussion and the jamming. The members have never been the same, yet the members always are.

Diokno Pasilan calls the concept a "collaborative idea for artists who consider it a lifestyle based on an intuitive notion of coming together and sharing the moment with the creative impulses of music and art according to the participants' own understanding."

Interactive, as one would say these days. An art Interface through musical rhythms.

One of the unusual characteristics of this "band" is that the participants aren't all career musicians. Most are visual artists, installationists, filmmakers. And one or two even consider themselves as Art Objects (in more ways than one: Object ng object sa Art 'yung iba).

As such, the music you hear is nowhere in the class of Boying Geronimo, let alone Nana Vasconcelos. Also, the "best" music the group has ever put together was created at parties or some such occasion. This is because of the spontaneous, trance-like celebratory aspect of the participants' lifestyles."

Attaching here a video from the first song the group performed at Galerie Talmart.
Thank you dear Pinikpikan/Kalayo for that powerful concert. 

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