Europe and PH strengthen ties through jazz

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The team that made Jazz collaboration possible. (From left) Petra Raymond, director of Goethe-Institut Philippinen; Jose Maria Fons Guardiola, head of the Cultural Department of Instituto Cervantes-Manila; Adelina Suemith (front), officer-in-charge and executive director of NCCA; Sabrina Durand, cultural coordinator from Alliance Française de Manille; Patrick Deyvant, Eunic Philippines president and director of Alliance Française de Manille

The team that made Jazz collaboration possible. (From left) Petra Raymond, director of Goethe-Institut Philippinen; Jose Maria Fons Guardiola, head of the Cultural Department of Instituto Cervantes-Manila; Adelina Suemith (front), officer-in-charge and executive director of NCCA; Sabrina Durand, cultural coordinator from Alliance Française de Manille; Patrick Deyvant, Eunic Philippines president and director of Alliance Française de Manille

AS Filipinos immerse in different cultural experiences through the celebration of National Arts Month, organized by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), five musicians from Europe and the Philippines will collaborate on a six-day event that aims to open the minds of Filipinos through experimental freedom and cultural possibilities that could be easily infused with Filipino flair.

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Made possible by the European Union National Institutes for Culture (Eunic) together with the European Union Delegation to the Philippines and other participating agencies, this “never before-seen cultural crossover” was presented in a press conference held on February 13 at the Bayleaf Hotel in Intramuros, Manila.

“The European Union is not only interested in doing business here in the Philippines. We also want to share our culture because this explains the sense of everything that we are doing; and through culture and music, these pleasures are what give smiles to our lives,” said Patrick Deyvant, director of Alliance Française de Manille and president of Eunic.

The musical event titled Euro-Pinoy Jazz Concerts commissioned Filipino saxophonist Tots Tolentino to play and perform with jazz musicians from France, Germany, Italy, and Spain in a four-day workshop that started on February 17. Their musical synthesis will be showcased in two concerts that will take place on February 21 at the Arts in the City (26th St. corner 7th Ave., in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig), and on February 22 at the Maestranza Plaza in Intramuros, Manila. Both shows begin at 8 p.m. and open to the public for free.

Each artist will play a different role in the said concerts, creating “fresh and distinctive identity” with the aim of “fostering cultural cooperation.” From all genres, jazz becomes the mutual platform between the two nations to “create space and freedom for expression and development,” as Deyvant pointed out.

Tolentino, who will impart his distinct saxophone-playing style that is “passionate and authoritative,” is joined by French guitarist Nguyen Le, Spanish percussionist Tinio di Geraldo, German jazz vocalist Michael Schiefel, and Italian double bass player Furio di Castri, who will make up the five-man jazz band in the two-day concerts.

Highly-respected for their own innovative style and approach, the five artists have also come together to promote a greater appreciation of jazz among Filipino audience, and connect cultural differences between European nations and the Philippines through music.

“As the prime arm of the government tasked to promote culture and the arts, we believe that this cultural collaboration between the Philippines and the European Union will help boost a continuous exchange of cultural ideas, bolster interest for the local arts scene, and integrate European values into Filipino artistry,” declared Adelina Suemith, officer-in-charge and executive director of the NCCA.

Jazz, as described by renowned German music journalist and author Joachim-Ernst Berendt, is “a spontaneity and vitality of musical production in which improvisation plays a role that has a sonority and manner of phrasing, which mirror the individuality of the performing jazz musician.”

With the first-ever Euro-Pinoy Jazz Concerts, the local audience will be given a chance to appreciate the spontaneous artistry of musicians from Europe, and at the same time, apply such influences in their own musical taste in a way that is still uniquely Filipino.

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