Global artist creates MassKara 2017 music
Bacolod-born musical artist Roberto “Bob” Aves—acknowledged as the leading proponent of Philippine jazz—composed, arranged and produced this year’s MassKara streetdance music.
With the festival theme “Bacolod: City of Southeast Asia,” this year’s MassKara music “is a fusion of the traditional, modern, and ASEAN culture. We tried to universalize our culture to create a global impact,” Aves added.
The music will be officially launched next week.
“It shows how ASEAN music can blend naturally with our traditional music. And as a global piece, it can weave naturally with popular Western genres,” Aves said.
A graduate of Don Bosco Technical Institute in Victorias City, Aves finished college at the University of the Philippines College of Music, before he went on to study and complete his Bachelor’s Degree of Music, major in Composition from the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
He studied jazz orchestra under Herb Pomeroy and Phil Wilson. His jazz arrangements and compositions have been performed and recorded by the prestigious Berklee Concert Band and Phil Wilson’s Dues Band.
Now home in Bacolod from studying and working abroad and in Manila, Aves’ contribution to local music is the development of Philippine jazz, an inter-cultural music of southeast Asian and western-colonial heritage which created a unique jazz identity.
His works also include musical scores for documentaries and independent films shown in international film festivals such as the Sundance Film Festival, Montreal Film Festivals, New York International Film festival and special collaborative projects with traditional and international artists for small ensembles to full orchestra, theater and music for contemporary dance.
Collaborating with Grace Nono, their music group has performed in international music festivals like the Womad in Yokohama, Music Village in UK, HK Festival of Asian Arts, Singapore Arts Festival, 2005 World Exposition in Aichi, Japan, Berlin House of World Cultures, Barcelona-Madrid Asian Festival, and Naning Folk Festival, China where they have presented their brand of Filipino-world music.
Aves said that the MassKara 2017 music “transforms our traditional music for the global stage.”
The inter-cultural dialog of our rich musical heritage, the inter-mixture of our ASEAN musical flavors, and the beat of electronic dance music defines our MassKara cultural innovation,” he explained.
The music is divided into three parts. The introduction, Part 1, is an “inter-cultural dialog,” a mix of ethnic sounds from our indigenous culture: Tongatong (bamboo instruments) of Kalinga, voice ad libs called “Tata” by Panay Bukidnon, Palawan bamboo and gong counter rhythm, Babandir gongs of Maguindanao, and big Taiko drum accents from Japan (Asian).
The main theme or the “street dancing” is Part 2 and features our evolution “from tradition to global transformation” with the use of Electronic Dance Music style, vocal tracks by JoAnn Bernal, Jet Estefani, Tim dela Rama, and Christian Morales, and “Tata” from the Panay Bukidnon.
“I have to point out that the indigenous styles we incorporated into the piece are true, culturally correct pieces. It was not a shot in the dark. These are the real instruments that they use, the real music that they use – that’s what I applied,” Aves stressed.
Part 3 is “ASEAN Integration” featuring various ASEAN musical flavors, hip hop by Christian Morales, Maguindanao Kulintang excerpts, and Negros “Afro-Cuban” beats.
Part 4 is a recap of the main theme for street-dancing.
Gerry Grey, who also did previous MassKara music, co-produced the 2017 piece.*