Triple Fret – Gitara Filipina

  Beauty. Youth. Talent. Passion Marga Abejo, Iqui Vinculado and Jenny de Vera are Triple Fret, the only all-female classical guitar trio in the Philippines. They have captivated the hearts of music lovers all over with their refreshing brand of music, performance, and love for the classical guitar. Their goal is to transcend barriers of different social class, culture, and religion, to truly bring the joy of music to all. Formally trained in the premiere music schools of the country, Triple Fret stands out with their extensive repertoire of Spanish, Filipino traditional, and well-loved classical pieces, all infused with a style uniquely their own.
Gitara Filipina

So the write up goes, and I have to agree. I was lucky enough to meet and listen to this talented trio in a recent visit to Hong Kong where they were playing at Music City. Their enthusiasm and love of the guitar comes through in their playing and the way they are so open and excited by other performers and teachers. David Russell’s appearance was a source of a flurry of photo snapping! Being of Filipino descent myself I was particularly interested in the way they included Filipino music into their programmes and their wish to make this music more well known around the world with the help of expert arranger, Jeffrey S. Malazo. While I was there, Jenny and Jeffrey were engaged! We had just had an amazing meal in a Japanese restaurant with sashimi, sushi and Korean barbecue (pretty protein rich meal). It was also Jeffrey’s birthday and the enterprising restaurant owners made him a cake consisting of sushi rice and shrimp eggs. Here are some clips of Triple Fret’s concert in Music City, plus a short interview I made with them.

Here is an interview about their debut album “Gitara Filipina”

Here is an interesting article with more music from VerJube Photographics

Berta Rojas with Triple Fret live in Manila and Cebu

The economics of classical music and the Spanish guitar

From the Philippines (land of my forbears) – plus news about Berta Rojas‘ project there.

The propensity for classical music might be genetic, or the taste might be acquired, or most likely both. What is indisputable is that, on the demand side, the market has been on the decline worldwide for decades, even before the preponderance of digital media and internet piracy and sharing.

If classical music in general is on the wane, the fate of the Spanish or classical guitar suffers a worse fate. The classical guitar has had a long battle to be a solo or even a chamber concert instrument.

In the Philippines, there was a major effort to promote classical guitar music since the early 2000s by visionaries Tonyboy Cojuangco and Greg Yu.

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More on the guitar in the Philippines

Selected Filipino Guitar music posted by Raffy Lata

Some samples of Harana (courtship songs) arranged for guitar

The world sends us garbage… We send back music – the children of Cateura and their “Garbage Instruments” – Los Reciclados

Mozart played on oil drums!

Just outside the Paraguayan capital of Asuncion sits Cateura, a massive landfill that receives 1,500 tons of new rubbish each day. The dumping site’s surrounding neighborhoods are home to several thousand families who make a living by sorting through its rotting waste, and separate out whatever can be sold to the local recycling industry. According to UNICEF, Cateura is a community marked by extreme poverty, illiteracy, and pollution.

It’s also home to an orchestra—one made up of local children whose instruments are made entirely from recycled garbage.

This is an article in TakePart amplifying my earlier post on Cateura’s collaboration with Berta Rojas.

It’s an intriguing story of a musician, Favio Chávez, who got together with a rubbish collector, Nicolás Gómez, to make instruments together using packing cases, oil drums and old bottles.

“If you paint your village, you paint the whole world”

imageBerta Rojas‘ new album “Salsa Roja” was released last month, paying tribute to her beloved Latin America. But what makes this collection of music extra special is the collaboration with the Recycled Instruments Orchestra of Cateura — or Landfill Harmonic Orchestra — a 19-member ensemble comprised of children from Asunción, Paraguay who perform using instruments they have built from recycled trash. Berta is also working to design what she hopes will be the Cateura Music School, the town’s very first music school with real instruments.

In case you didn’t catch it, this heartwarming video is a backstage look at the project she was involved in, in her native Paraguay, with composer and conductor Edín Solís and the children of Loma San Jerónimo. Continue reading

Microtones with Tolgahan Cogulu

Tolga has been around for some time now, with a guitar with movable fretlets in channels under the strings to produce 9th tones and more. He gave a mindbending lecture at the GFA and also played some Bağlama music as well as examples by contemporary composers.

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