ON December 14 at 2pm, the Alay Philippine Performing Arts Rondalla and special guests will present an afternoon of Philippine music, as well as well-known favorites and holiday melodies, at the Caldwell Public Library located at 268 Bloomfield Avenue. The event is free, but reservations are required.
Founded in 1999 by Mirinisa Myers and Ameurfina Nazario, the Alay Philippine Performing Arts Rondalla has as its goals to document, perform, and record music written or arranged for rondallas and rondalla instruments. The founders have an extensive library of arrangements, some of which they had recorded on three CDs.
The Philippine rondalla is a string ensemble which uses a number of different-sized, 14-stringed plectrum instruments called bandurria, laud, and octavina. Considered hybrids of the guitar and the cittern families, these flat back lutes play the melody and counter melody, while the double bass and the guitars provide the rhythm. The rondalla, with roots in Spain, is a valued cultural legacy with a long history in the Philippines.
At the height of its popularity, when the Philippines was still a territory of the United States, the rondalla played symphonic overtures and arias, a tradition that continues to this day. In the 1950s, there were rondalla contests, called tambakan (to pile on or, in other words, “to bury your opponent”), where musicians showed off their skill, versatility, and the richness of their repertoire. Oftentimes heard accompanying traditional songs and folk dances, the string ensemble today, as in the past, plays all kinds of music, from classical to the latest popular tunes.
Please call 973-226-2837 to reserve your spot. Refreshments will be served.