My cousin Knij is a member of the Kontemporaryong Gamelan Pilipino or more popularly known as Kontra-GaPi of the University of the Philippines-Diliman and in lieu of the National Arts Month Celebration they were invited by the UPV Chancellors Committee for Culture and the Arts to perform at SM City Iloilo Events Center today February 27th, 2011.
According to Prof. Pedro “Edru” Abraham, Jr., the Founder-Leader, Kontra-GaPi is not a ‘folk dance group‘ but they do dance and create music of folk and ethnic lore. Their genre is Contemporary Ethnic, World Music, Fusion And they are the Resident Ethnic Music and Dance Ensemble of the College of Arts and Letters, UP Diliman. “Gamelan” is an Indonesian word and I think Prof. Abraham said that it means Southeast Asian Style Orchestra.
Prof. Abraham said, “Ang musika ay sayaw na naririnig at ang sayaw ay musika na nakikita.” They use indigenous instruments but they play contemporary music using their very own compositions. their performance speaks for itself. And I was very impressed and in awe of them. It was certainly a rare treat for Ilonggos and I applaud all of their sponsors for bringing Kontra-GaPi here in Iloilo.
Kontra-GaPi also performed at UP in the Visayas and UP Miag-ao. Their main purpose is to spread not only the Filipino culture but also of the cultures of Asia by the creative use of indigenous materials. Gangsa, kulintang, tongatong and kalutang are some of the instruments they used as well as parts of the human body as well.
The audience also had the chance to join Kontra-GaPi by chanting and an impromptu tutorial in the different ways of clapping. Personally, I didn’t know that there are lots of ways to clap. LOL. Prof. Edru also taught us some “vocables” which are different sounds produced by the throat. He said that every aspect of creativity starts with imitation so that’s what he made us do. He made us follow and we indeed learned a lot from him and his ‘talents.’
“Kalayaan, Katarungan, Kapayapaan sa Bayan” and “Kalikasan Alagaan Para sa Kinabukasan” are the inspiring chants we heard from KONTRA-GAPI. Tim and I were seated at the front row so we really got carried away with the chants. Again Tim and I would like to thank Kontra-GaPi for visiting Iloilo. And I am so proud of my cousin Jinky for being a member of this prestigious group of artists! You can Like Kontra-GaPi’s Facebook page here.
And here is a video of their performance as well. Enjoy!