Cabin Sessions: Comme Si by E. Sy Kennenga (in French, Tagalog, English and Creole!)

We have this thing we call “cabin sessions”, which are actually jam sessions inside our pretty wooden cabin here at CWC. Now I’d like to share this one here because we just had a blast jamming to this! Just a little backgrounder, Kat and I learned that our friend Cedric (whom we thought was French) was actually from Martinique, one of those beautiful Caribbean isles I would love to visit someday. Upon learning about this, we asked him if he could share us some Caribbean music and he introduced us to E. Sy Kennenga. We loved Comme Si by E.Sy Kennenga so much that we decided to do a cover, and even translate it to Tagalog, English and Creole! Here’s me, Kat, Cedric and Bass having one of the coolest cabin sessions so far –

It’s pretty amazing how music really help form great friendships, despite language barriers. Kat and I don’t speak French, Cedric and Bass (and Steeven- not in the video) speak little English, but we just had a great time jamming, talking (aka charades and Google translate. LOL!) and hanging out while they were here at CWC. This was truly a connection beyond borders – from the Philippines, to France, to Martinique yeeew! Update – We actually emailed E. Sy Kennenga about this and we got a reply from his brother/manager. How cool is that?!-

E Sy

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Malasimbo Music Festival 2014

I’ve been hearing about how amazing the Malasimbo experience is for the past couple of years so I decided, well, I’ll make it happen this year. So Piso for Malasimbo was set up (Just kidding! But I did save up for this), tickets were purchased once released, and accommodations were booked in advance to maximise our money’s worth. They say spend on experiences and not on things, and yes, this was all worth it. I must say, this weekend has been incredible. It was the perfect opportunity to relax, reflect, and soak in all the good vibes the place and the event has to offer. The music, the concert grounds, the people, the vibe, Puerto Galera- everything is just beautiful.

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Festival grounds at dusk

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You can find art installations scattered all over

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Poi and hoops workshop

RFID tag (serves as gate pass and wallet - just load and swipe for food and drinks. Sobrang high-tech!)

RFID tag (serves as gate pass and wallet – just load and swipe for food and drinks. Sobrang high-tech!)

It was amazing how everything was set up. The acoustics were fantastic even though it’s an open-air venue. During the event, one could choose from just chilling/lying down on the grass, dancing in front of the stage when you feel like it, wandering around the festival grounds appreciating the art installations or the Mangyan’s native wares, or getting your pick of what to eat or drink. You’ll find food stalls and tables and benches just behind the stage. The ‘dabo ‘dobo (rice topped with chicken adobo and served on coconut shells), kesong puti on pandesal, and that legit bibingka were so goooood!

Omar brought some soul Sat night

Omar brought some soul Sat night

Jose Gonzalez and his sweet guitar skills captivated the audience Sunday

Jose Gonzalez and his sweet guitar skills captivated the audience Sunday

IMG_7113 To be honest, I didn’t take a lot of pictures or videos during the performances because I just wanted to be in the moment and soak it all in. All that new music is refreshing and I was just too happy to be present, swaying to the beat and getting lost in island rhythm. I particularly loved Kooii, Jordan Rakei, Jose Gonzalez, Similar Objects, Lowleaf and Robert Glasper Experiment’s cover of Get Lucky (Daft Punk). Mishka Adams got a lot of love from the crowd and was so gracious during the streaker fiasco in the middle of her set. We were right at the top of the amphitheatre and this naked guy just appeared on our left and started walking down towards the stage. He got some cheers alright. You never really know what to expect from this festival. Haha! During the day, we would either chill on the beach or do some activities like snorkelling or parasailing.

One highlight of the festival, I think, is the surprise performance by Baco, Oriental Mindoro’s dance troupe Sunday night. They performed a version of pandanggo sa ilaw to showcase Baco’s Festival of Lights. It was a nice way to show a bit of Filipino culture to all the foreign visitors at the festival. It was so beautiful! A Proud to be Pinoy moment!!

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The topic of pricing always came up during this weekend. My Aussie friends definitely found this festival way cheaper than what they have back home considering the quality of the artists, the beauty of the venue and Puerto Galera as a whole. But as I was explaining to them, the way the festival is priced isn’t really for the general Filipino audience. For us, this is something that has to be planned beforehand if you want to experience a relaxing weekend getaway. It’s all good, and definitely a perfect way to start summer. I am looking forward to attending again next year with my sister, my ultimate concert buddy 🙂 Kudos to the organizers of Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival! Now I know why everyone who has ever gone to Malasimbo can’t stop raving about it and just come back year after year.

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Happy anniversary MOA Arena!

SM Mall of Asia Arena, or MOA Arena as it is popularly known, celebrated its first anniversary by kicking off with a press conference last May 24, 2013. It’s too bad though that I was not able to attend because we were in our province that time, enjoying the sight of Mayon Volcano and all the pili I could eat.

I remember I was there when MOA Arena first opened to the public, on the first of the 2-night concert by Lady Gaga on her Born this Way World Tour that almost did not happen. I remember being ecstatic about MOA Arena’s beautiful facilities and the notion of finally having an alternative to the venue in Cubao (as a consumer and concert-goer, healthy competition is good :)) And in their first year alone, MOA Arena has hosted world-class artists such as Nicki Minaj, David Guetta, J. Lo, Aerosmith, Swedish House Mafia as well as Kpop superstarts Big Bang, and local productions Foursome, Pinoy Pride, Icons at the Arena, Asia’s songbird Regine Velasquez and games of the PBA, UAAP and NCAA.

Truly, its vision of “changing the game and elevating entertainment” was on point in the past year. This year, an amazing line-up of events welcome Filipino concert-goers, basketball fans and even fight/MMA enthusiasts. Here are some of the upcoming events at the MOA Arena –

Lee Min Ho’s My Everything World Tour on July 6 –  

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Linkin Park Living Things World Tour on August 13 –
Rihanna Diamonds World Tour on September 19 – 
NBA Pre-season Game featuring the Indiana Pacers v Houston Rockets on October 10 –
Disney Live on October 2 to 6 – 
Other events are Ogie Alcasid: I Write the Songs on August 16, King of the Cage on July 5 (headlined by two undefeated world champions), Monster Jam featuring monster trucks and their stunts on Aug 30 – Sept 4, NCAA Season 89 and UAAP Season 76 games.

For more information, check out their website – http://www.mallofasia-arena.com.  For tickets, log on to SM Tickets or call 470-2222. 

Sheng Belmonte sizzles with her new album Single

I’ll be honest. At first, I didn’t know who Sheng Belmonte was nor any of her songs. But after a few searches on Google, I learned that she was the voice featured in Gloc-9’s hit “Walang Natira”. I also learned that she’s been quite the fighter, persevering in reaching her dreams of becoming a recording artist and an actress, with stints as a showband vocalist, stand-up comedienne and a participant in Pinoy Dream Academy Season 2. With that alone, she has earned a few points in my respect meter =)
Listening to her CD entitled “Single” without any expectations nor biases was quite fun. The album has 7 tracks, and they all have a minus-one counterpart to make it a 14-track album. With no idea what to expect, I started with a “clean slate” on my mind and here are some of my thoughts on her songs.

The album starts with “Sabik”, a song with a dance pop tune that gives off a Destiny’s Child/TLC vibe. I liked its melody connoting girl power and female fierce-ness. The carrier single “Single” is quite unique with its Taglish lyrics coupled with reggae-ish and Latin tunes that remind me of Pu3ska. I am heavily influenced by my sister, @MsVirna, with her love for reggae so I really like this song’s beat and melody, but was not too fond of the lyrics though.
Her third track “Walang Kapalit” has very simple lyrics that Pinoys would love to sing along to –
Wala kang kapalit. Walang, walang, walang papalit.
Sa pag-ibig laging mainit. Parang kumot sa lamig
Na kay ginhawa, walang hahambing.

Wala kang kapalit. Walang, walang, walang papalit.
Wala kang kapalit. Walang ibang kasing bait.
“Muli” is her 4th track, and so far this has been my favorite in this album. It’s a classic love song, with the right tinge of sadness coupled with a good melody. Nice 🙂 Next is “Akala Mo”, a song that literally caught me off-guard. Akala ko it was about a hopeless romantic na nagmamakaawa sa boyfriend nya, but turns out to be defiant and confident in the end. Why not?! I loved this song’s guitar riffs! This is followed by “Sana”’s very sensual melody that might just be a hit for karaoke bars/ videoke joints. It reminds me of Tootsie Guevarra’s Kaba. Now you might have an idea how old I am. LOL!
Last on the list is “Ulan”, a very powerful song that featured Sheng’s vocal chops. I loved the melody, and I suddenly missed Roselle Nava while listening to this.
Sheng Belmonte showcased her confidence and sensuality in this album. And reading up on some of the write-ups about her, I am no longer surprised where she got that vibe. I love the fact that there are still original Filipino songs being produced and supported by recording companies such as Vicor Music, giving chances to solo artists like Sheng. There’s hope 🙂 Yay!!
Grab a copy of Single at all recording stores nationwide. Follow her on Twitter @ShengBelmonte and check out @vivavicor for more details.
PS: Special thanks to Punch Liwanag (@punchaudiojunki) for trusting me with this. Yay!!