I've never been so unexpectedly terrified in my life... until I tried singkil. And apparently I wasn't the only one out of the CLUTCH girls.
Last Saturday, Kapisanan program coordinator Jodee Aguillon introduced us to traditional Philippine dance and its rich, long history. Turns out Jodee was a former dancer and choreographer, with a rather unique style, fusing contemporary forms with traditional. Seeing Jodee on a regular basis, I think we were all surprised by how knowledgeable he was about Filipino dance and how incredibly talented he was on the floor.
Then the bamboo sticks came out. We were all somewhat familiar with the dance, having either seen it performed before or having been taught the dance in the past. It was like double-dutch — with long, heavy sticks. The workshop was a good change — a good workout — and we all made it out alive.
Afterwards, we had our music workshop with Casey Mecija, lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter of the Toronto indie band Ohbijou. Casey was a dream — not to mention her music. After seeing her and a couple fellow bandmates — her sister Jennifer and cellist Anissa Hart — play an intimate show at Kapisanan the week before, our hearts melted from the sweet warbling harmonies and beautifully layered instrumental melodies. Casey introduced us to her world and shared her touring and recording experiences and stories about her and the band's projects and endeavors, such as the Friends in Bellwoods compilation album and some short films.
Then we got into work mode: how to incorporate music into our short film Perched. Having been collectively working on the film for months now, the CLUTCH ladies have let it sit aside while we focused on the other art workshops pouring in. The one missing element in the film (besides the filtering and colour correction techie stuff) was the music. Music is CRUCIAL in setting the tone for the whole film and more importantly, as Casey mentioned, evoking emotion. We had our narration and shots set and done, but the movie as a whole lacked a "heart tug." So we brainstormed and sampled music and laid out our options. Daryl Anne cracked the bandurria, a small 14-string guitar played in the Philippines, and we were stunned.
Casey (above) and a few members of Ohbijou will be helping us incorporate the bandurria with other instruments for Perched's musical score. Recording starts in a couple weeks... just in time for the final exhibit. I can't even begin to tell you how excited we are to be in the studio for the whole process. It's going to be one for the books.
See a video clip of Casey and members of Ohbijou play at the Daps All-Ages Concert Vol. IV at Kapisanan here.