Malasimbo Music and Art Festival | Spinning Music & Art, Nature & Culture
Malasimbo Music and Art Festival was already on its 6th run last March. Barefooted, dressed down & so thrown into the Brigada’s afro-Brazilian beats, I wondered where was I on its 1st-5th years?
I have had several music fest attendances on my wandering playlist & obviously I ticked this one off with a loud drumroll. Everyone loved it too. What’s not to adore when the event was a caboodle of exciting music, thought-provoking art, ambient venue and sparkling advocacies for nature & culture?
Fun, to mean being a first-timer at the Malasimbo Music and Art Festival is an understatement.
On a special journey with the Tourism Promotions Board, we joined the pilgrimage of music, art & culture enthusiasts to Mt. Malasimbo in the small beach town of Puerto Galera in Mindoro Oriental.
Being one of the island’s mainstay attractions for quite sometime, the festival has already gained its distinction as the country’s hippest musical soiree. It gathers many of the finest music and visual artists around the country and the world in one special venue.
Set on breezy foothills that look out to the bay, throng of partyphiles camped under the stars over a loop of jazz, blues, funk, hip-hop, disco, electronic, house and world music.
Brigada topped my list of favorites as this homegrown percussion ensemble got me up on my feet to dance in their heart-thumping beats of the samba. Then come Korea’s music ambassadors Gong Myoung, an unbelievably fantastic performing arts group that synthesizes its traditional percussions & winds with contemporary instruments for the world to appreciate.
But the Reo Brothers of the Otic Family in Tacloban brought the house down with their renditions of 50s to the 70s from the Beatles, Beachboys, Bee Gees, Dave Clark Five, Gary Lewis, Playboys, The Lettermen, America and VST. Some people were starting to ant up to the exit but when the airwave hits of the yesteryears echoed through the woods, they deluged back into the amphi-theater like mad bugs.
One of the standout features of the Malasimbo Music and Art Festival was the art installation exhibit on the festival ground. Under the direction of Olivia d’Aboville, exquisite multi-media pieces were curated to bring to its audience various powerful images and messages.
Among those that stirred inspirations were Iya Regalario, Jinggoy Buensuceso, Gringo Benedicto, Billy Bonnevie, Libbet Louhnan, Russ Ligtas, Agnes Arellano, Grace Katigbak, Raphael David and Leeroy New.
But at the heart of this festival is the appreciation for the people that nurture the island—the indigenous Mangyans. On live expositions, our Iraya and Hanunuo Mangyan brothers’ artworks & handicrafts, culture & traditions were showcased to the festivalgoers with the desire to bring forth interaction, promotion & acknowledgment of a culture that defines Mindoro.
The event also featured a light & dance festival on its 2nd installment of the entire season that took place during the tail days of the Holy Week. Malasimbo was lit up with bright and colorful lights as music reverberated on the island’s northerntip paradises.
The Malasimbo Music and Art Festival, with its headman Hubert d’Aboville goes beyond just staging a music event. It actually helps in various advocacies where some proceeds of the festival go to environment protection and helping the Mangyan communities.
Through the d’Aboville Foundation, they have planted hardwood, bamboo, mangroves, herbs and other medicinal plants. They also help in the protection of Tamaraws through partnership with Noe Conservation, a French NGO expert in endangered wild animals.
There’s no doubt that the Malasimbo Music and Art Festival was magical. With its multi-sensory and experiential assemblage of music and art, nature and culture, I surely can’t wait for its 2017 show.